The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

October 26, 2017

Adversity, Change, Clayton, General Authorities, General Conference

Comments Off on Clayton – Develop a Reservoir of Empathy

No matter the burdens we face in life as a consequence of natural conditions, the misconduct of others, or our own mistakes and shortcomings, we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father, who sent us to earth as part of His eternal plan for our growth and progress. Our unique individual experiences can help us prepare to return to Him. The adversity and afflictions that are ours, however difficult to bear, last, from heaven’s perspective, for “but a small moment; and then, if [we] endure it well, God shall exalt [us] on high.”1 We must do everything we can to bear our burdens “well” for however long our “small moment” carrying them lasts.

Burdens provide opportunities to practice virtues that contribute to eventual perfection. They invite us to yield “to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and [put] off the natural man and [become] a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and [become] as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [us], even as a child doth submit to his father.”2 Thus burdens become blessings, though often such blessings are well disguised and may require time, effort, and faith to accept and understand. Four examples may help explain this:

• First, Adam was told, “Cursed shall be the ground for thy sake,” which meant for his benefit, and “by the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.”3 Work is a continual burden, but it is also a continual blessing “for [our] sake,” for it teaches lessons we can learn only “by the sweat of [our] face.”

• Second, Alma observed that the poverty and “afflictions [of the poor among the Zoramites] had truly humbled them, and that they were in a preparation to hear the word.”4 He added, “Because ye are compelled to be humble blessed are ye.”5 Our economic challenges may help prepare us to hear the word of the Lord.

• Third, because of the “exceedingly great length of [their] war,” many Nephites and Lamanites “were softened because of their afflictions, insomuch that they did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility.”6 Political unrest, social disorder, and, in some areas of the world, modern Gadianton robbers may humble us and motivate us to seek heavenly shelter from societal storms.

• Fourth, Joseph Smith was told that the terrible things he suffered for years at the hands of his enemies would “give [him] experience, and … be for [his] good.”7 The suffering we experience through the offenses of others is a valuable, though painful, school for improving our own behavior.

Further, bearing up under our own burdens can help us develop a reservoir of empathy for the problems others face. The Apostle Paul taught that we should “bear … one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”8 Accordingly, our baptismal covenants require that we should be “willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; yea, and [be] willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.”9

Elder L. Whitney Clayton

That Your Burdens May Be Light,” Ensign, Nov 2009, 12–14

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November 2, 2015

Clayton, Faith, General Authorities, Humility

Comments Off on The Promised Land Usually Isn’t a Place

First, the promised land today is not likely to be a place like it was in Old Testament times or even for the pioneers. Instead, the promised land is a way of life. It is found in living life in a manner that qualifies for the fulfillment of divine promises. This is achieved when we follow the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). King Benjamin taught, “Moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual” (Mosiah 2:41). “Blessed in all things” usually does not mean blessed with all things. The promised land means that we will have sufficient resources for our needs and even some of our desires. But, more important, it means that as a result of our sincere striving and our earnest efforts, we will be blessed with freedom from contention, from envying, and from strife in our homes (see 4 Nephi 1:18) and sustained with forgiveness of sins, peace of conscience, charity, meekness, joy and rejoicing in our posterity, and peace with our neighbors.

Second, since today the promised land usually isn’t a place, we can find it wherever we are. While we naturally look out to the horizon and plan for and work toward a future day, the promised land is here and now. It is found in the way we live each day, confront each challenge, and move forward with faith. There is no such thing as finally arriving anywhere in life, for life extends ahead of us with a constantly receding horizon, offering both new opportunities and new trials. Thus we should seek to make every day and every hour count. It is too easy to hang our hopes on some future event or some new situation and forget what life offers us now.

Elder L. Whitney Clayton
The Promised Land,” a commencement address was given on 12 August 2010, at Brigham Young University

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