Can words sing? I believe so.
In my household, running is a big deal. I myself am a walker, but even then, I am not as diligent as my wife. She walks on a regular schedule and has been doing so for years. But it is really my children that are the runners. One daughter runs religiously every morning. She did ten miles today before I was even out of bed. Others in the family are similarly impassioned. Another daughter and her husband run frequently with the baby in a stroller and the dog on a leash. I have seen them and others perform this feat for years. Other children competed in track when they were in high school. They never feared pushing through the last leg of the relay when the coach and the team needed the most effective surge. That’s why they work out. The moment for which they had trained regularly and endured all this pain was the very reason they exercised in the first place. Their diligence really paid off then, and it is paying off big time now.
Maybe you’re not a runner. I understand that, but you no doubt have other passions for which you give your all: drama, education, auto mechanics, family, art, history, rodeo, outdoors, or other interesting quests and exciting activities. Whatever your passion, you are faithful to your goals and you find joy in that pursuit. That’s just the way it should be.
That is good and right and brings much satisfaction, but I am going to make a claim that may sit funny with you when you first hear it, but I will share some examples to make my point. Okay, here goes:
Whatever you do and whomever you do it with, the gospel of Jesus Christ will help you do it better. And it is guaranteed to bring you more happiness all along the way. Period.
Do you believe that? There are many illustrations of this principle:
Example 1: Because of Jesus Christ, the beautiful things of this life are all possible. Challenging things in this world can also be wonderful, because the gospel of Jesus Christ helps us appreciate and understand hardship in a totally new way. The perspective of the gospel sheds new life and light on our lives and the circumstances surrounding our existence. The Atonement is “the very root of Christian doctrine. You may know much about the gospel as it branches out from there, but if you only know the branches and those branches do not touch that root, if they have been cut free from that truth, there will be no life nor substance nor redemption in them” (Boyd K. Packer, “The Mediator,” Ensign, May 1977, 56).
Reread that quote: “No life nor substance nor redemption . . .” Could Elder Packer have been more forceful in emphasizing this? I don’t think so. What does that really mean?
I believe the Atonement of Jesus Christ can be an essential part of our lives every single day. Whatever hardship you may be facing today, it is easier to surmount or accept (if necessary) with an understanding of the Atonement, knowing that because of Christ’s sacrifice, our problems are short-lived in the eternal scheme of things.
Obstacles have purpose. In D&C 122, Joseph Smith could have stopped with verse 7 upon receiving the revelations and inspired declarations given for the establishment of the kingdom of God. On its own, this reference stands for what is good and right; it is meaningful and of value all on its own. But then verse 8 was added to emphasize the role of the Son of Man in our lives and place proper emphasis. The point is that we can remember Jesus Christ in all we do and include references to Him in everything. It’s easy. Where can’t you see His influence? It is literally everywhere— absolutely everywhere.
Example 2: Temple attendance and family history work is doing for others what they cannot do for themselves. First, family history research helps us ascertain our progenitors, and second, performing temple ordinances in their behalf gives them the same opportunities afforded to the living.
And in doing this for our ancestors, we learn to love and honor them. Family history and temple work is not only for the dead, but it blesses the living as well—perhaps it is even more for us than it is for them.
The great plan of happiness was designed to help all men reach their potentials and fulfill our purpose in every situation as children of God. That is to say, this eternal plan is not just for the righteous. Alone, we all fall short. Repentance benefits and strengthens all men everywhere, especially when we make decisions contrary to the commandments. We get second chances and an opportunity for mercy.
But what about those that die without ever hearing the gospel message or having an opportunity to benefit from it in this life? Incredibly, the great plan of happiness is for those people too. That is one more reason why temple and family history work are so important.
Elder Henry B. Eyring taught:
“Many of your ancestors died never having the chance to accept the gospel and to receive the blessings and promises you have received. The Lord is fair and He is loving. And so He prepared for you and me a way for us to have the desire of our hearts to offer to our ancestors all the blessings He has offered us.
The plan to make that possible has been in place from the beginning. The Lord gave promises to His children long ago” (Henry B. Eyring, “Hearts Bound Together,” Ensign, May 2005).
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
“And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:5-6).
The Prophet Joseph Smith revealed a great truth pursuant to what was happening in his own family at the time. His older brother Alvin died prematurely, and the local clergy intimated very strongly that Alvin had gone to hell because he was never baptized. In January 1836, many years after Alvin’s death, Joseph Smith received a vision of the celestial kingdom, in which he saw that Alvin, as well as his mother and father, would someday inherit that kingdom. He later taught that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are to become saviors on Mount Zion. He explained: “How are they to become saviors on Mount Zion? By building their temples, erecting their baptismal fonts, and going forth and receiving all the ordinances . . . upon their heads, in behalf of all their progenitors who are dead, and redeem them that they may come forth in the first resurrection and be exalted to thrones of glory with them” (History of the Church, 6:184).
Elijah the prophet restored the sealing power in the Kirtland temple. This has been said to be the greatest power given to man as this enables families to be sealed on earth for eternity.
That promise is significant to all of us. No one escapes this life without hardship, difficulty, and even agony. We all lose people that we love. Pain and suffering in many ways are widespread in this mortal existence, but that is when the power of the Jesus Christ really becomes astounding.
The scriptures tell us that Christ “descended below all things,” meaning He experienced and suffered the consequences, not only of every sin and weakness, but also of every disease, every rejection, every disappointment, and every ailment of every soul who has ever lived. Nothing has escaped His grasp or His suffering. President Tad R. Callister delivered this message in July 2015 when he spoke about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and described its healing and perfecting powers and what it cost to bring it about this great miracle. #Hallelujah
Example 3: “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. Preoccupation with unworthy behavior can lead to unworthy behavior. That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel” (Boyd K. Packer, “Little Children,” October 1986 General Conference).
I purposefully took these particular quotes from long ago to demonstrate the accuracy of their prophetic claims dozens of years later. Now I have had the benefit of putting their words to the test. And looking back with hindsight, were the assertions made accurate? Did the predictions prove correct and factual? While you consider those questions, let’s take a look at some other people whose views coincide with my own.
Effectively, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the fuel that makes this world go around. President Gordon B. Hinckley once said the following in the context of the other churches around the world:
“Let me say that we appreciate the truth in all churches and the good which they do. We say to the people, in effect, you bring with you all the good that you have, and then let us see if we can add to it.”
I believe that this statement is not limited to churches only. The gospel of Jesus Christ can add to and exalt everything it touches. That too is not new. That is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There is power in ordinances. As we covenant with Jesus Christ, live in accordance with those principles, and renew our ordinances regularly, we are empowered beyond our natural abilities and find hope, solace, and peace in our lives despite the uproar all about us.
“I recommend thee unto God, and trust in Christ that thou wilt be saved” (Moroni 9:22).
Gratefully, despite our limitations and weakness, there is power in the Word. It is all about the Savior. He wants to forgive if we simply look and acknowledge His hand in our lives and try to follow Him. That is where the influence of the gospel of Jesus Christ really shows its power to deliver mankind and make more of us than we can do for ourselves.
Jesus Christ can turn our dust to gold.
Yes. Some words sing. Many of the Lord’s words do that for me.
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.