Thursday, April 10, 2014

April 2014 General Conference: The Cost—and Blessings—of Discipleship

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, all of us will face adversity and challenge for attempting to defend our faith, says Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.  We want to meet these challenges with courage and courtesy.  We have good examples of those who have experienced this kind of reviling and adversity with all due restraint. The scriptures witness that ultimate example was set by Jesus.

And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.  (1 Nephi 19:9)

For all who follow that example, there has been a long history of rejection and a painfully high price paid by prophets and apostles, missionaries and members in every generation.  We may question if it is worth the cost.  Yes, it is worth it, Elder Holland suggests, because the alternative is to have our “houses” left unto us “desolate” — desolate individuals, desolate families, desolate neighborhoods, and desolate nations.

Elder Holland observed a characteristic of our age that

"If people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds."

He assures us,

"...Folks invoke the name of Jesus as one who was this kind of “comfortable” God. Really? He who said not only should we not break commandments, but we should not even think about breaking them. And if we do think about breaking them, we have already broken them in our heart. Does that sound like “comfortable” doctrine, easy on the ear and popular down at the village love-in?"
We are called upon to worry, to warn, and to weep.

The promise of Jesus was not to bring peace to the world, but the sword. The bumper sticker slogan "What would Jesus Do?" does not always bring comfortable answers.  The requrement from Jesus is characterized in "If you love me, keep my commandments".

We must forsake transgression and any advocacy for it in others.  We are confident that the keys to saving ordinances are restored and represent the path to Christian discipleship. The path is without a great deal of latitude at some points, but traversing successully brings great rewards, “...with...steadfastness in Christ....a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.

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