I'm not gonna lie I'm pretty nervous. I wish I was better at speaking in front of people like this, but I'm gonna do my best. So hopefully it turns out. Life's been busier than ever, and I didn't get to writing this talk until just yesterday. So hopefully it doesn't sound too rushed.
Anyways, I wasn't really sure what my talk was on. When I first talked to bishop about it he told me "I don't know what do you wanna speak on?" Well I don't know, I had lots of ideas, but none are coming to mind. Life is so full of distractions, I haven't really had the time to really sit down and figure this whole thing out. Bishop texted me last week and asked what I thought about on the atonement and forgiveness for my talk. So I started writing the talk about the atonement, but then I felt inspired to take my talk a different direction. Anyways, I hope that's okay. I made sure to cover the Atonement a bit in my talk as well.
In the conference talk "Remember What Matters Most," Russel M. Ballard teaches three things that matter most in life.
- Our relationship with Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son
- Our families
- Our neighbors
He teaches that it's important to allow the Spirit of the Lord to guide us in those relationships so we can testify of the things that matter most.
In Matthew 22 verses 36 through 39: Jesus was asked "which is the great commandment?" To which he replied "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." He then follows that the "second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
This is so important, and has changed my entire perspective on life. I'm not gonna lie, I used to do most things for myself. And I'm not gonna say that doing things for yourself is a necessarily a bad thing. But too much of it can become a bad thing. Everything's about balance.
Anyways, I didn't really hang out with friends much. I kept to myself. I worked on my passions, expanding my knowledge in technology. I didn't participate in school events, I didn't go to dances, I didn't date, I wasn't really there for those around me other than my family. I basically didn't do any of these things because it wasn't what I wanted to do.
However, everything changed for me. I started seeing life differently. I began to understand everything that I did for myself was really just a distraction that takes away from what truly matters in life. One day as I found myself lost in thought, I was thinking about Christ's life. His example he set for everyone. He dedicated his whole life to helping others and service. He showed kindness and love towards everyone around him. And even though some of the things he did for people were small and simple, they meant a lot. Simply just listening to somebody that's going through a hard time or lending a helping hand goes a long way. And I already knew this, but then I started to think about all of this differently. I started to think about how I can change, and make every decision I make to in some way serve others. Cause ultimately that's the goal right, that's why we are all here. We all wanna be better, we wanna get closer and become more like Jesus.
This is what changed everything for me. I began to use my passions and interests that I previously used just to serve myself, to instead serve others. I went to school events, I went to dances, I went on dates, I created videos for others, I taught the things I learned to others, I made an effort to be there and support people, ultimately I tried to go out of my way to do more for those around me.
We have an infinite amount of distractions, and materialistic things to constantly think about. This makes it difficult to really focus on what truly matters in life. But after I changed my perspective, I understood that even those things take us away from what matters, we can still use them to bring us closer and serve others.
Technology is one of the greatest distractions, however we can use it as a tool. A tool to serve others and help those around us. It's as simple as sending a text to someone. It's truly amazing that we are able to communicate with anyone anywhere almost instantly. We live in the fullness of times. And we are so blessed to be living right here, right now. I believe that's why we are all here in these times, because we have so many resources to help in the gathering of Israel. It's important that we use them. President Eyring noted that the Lord “has revealed the technology that enables the Church to take full advantage of these advances,” but added that while technology can and does bless lives, “never forget that while we have computers, cameras, microphones, fiber-optic networks, clouds, and satellites, we have failed if we do not rely on the Holy Ghost.”
I just wanna invite all of us including myself, cause we aren't perfect, we all mess up, but I think we should all make an effort to be more like Christ. Spread more kindness in the world, be there for others, and spread the light of Christ. Use your talents and passions to better help those around you. Try not to get caught up in all the noise of the world, because it takes you away from the people that need you most.
President Russell M. Ballard taught that Latter-day Saints must be kind not only to each other but also to everyone around us. He observed: “Occasionally I hear of members offending those of other faiths by overlooking them and leaving them out. This can occur especially in communities where our members are the majority. I have heard about narrow-minded parents who tell children that they cannot play with a particular child in the neighborhood simply because his or her family does not belong to our Church. This kind of behavior is not in keeping with the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. He then states "I cannot comprehend why any member of our Church would allow these kinds of things to happen. … I have never heard the members of this Church urged to be anything but loving, kind, tolerant, and benevolent to our friends and neighbors of other faiths.” Let each of us, strive to love all.
I just wanted to share his message, because I think it's important and we all need to remember that we need to show love and kindness to everybody. I think we all tend to put people in groups and judge even without knowing. The Book of Mormon references a time where there wasn't judgment, groups, or contention. 4th Nephi chapter one talks about a period in which people were unified. It states "There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God." In the General Conference talk "The Greatest Possession," Jeffrey R. Holland states that the key breakthrough that lead to this peace is all embedded in one sentence, "The love of God … did dwell in the hearts of the people."
I wanna end this talk with why I chose to go on a mission. I believe that sharing what we learn with others is so important. And I think we take a lot of the things we learn or understand for granted. Many of these things can help others around us. The most important thing that we can share is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe everyone deserves the opportunity to be presented with the gospel and understand its teachings. So that they may have the choice and use their agency to choose to follow the gospel of Jesus Christ. I made the choice to go on a mission because I want to serve others. I wanna spread the love of Christ. I wanna serve God. I'm so blessed to be here right now, where I am, born into the church, with an amazing family, and I wanna give back. I don't deserve to be here where I am right now, if I don't make an effort to gather Israel and give back to others. I think about all those that came before us. The pioneers, those that settled into the nation, those that fought for our freedoms and rights, those that have defended the gospel with their lives. Many died serving and getting us to where we are now. And now we are here inheriting all the work done by countless generations. I believe it's important that we don't take what we have for granted, and that we go out and give back by doing God's work.
And this is ultimately the reason why I'm going on a mission. Cause even though it's going to be really difficult, I know that it's most important. I know that there's no better way I could be spending the next two years of my life, than spending it serving the Lord and others in need.
Just before I end my talk I wanna share my testimony.
- I know that the day when Joseph Smith decided to go to the sacred grove and pray for an answer, he saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ by his side.
- I know that it was by the power of God and the Holy Ghost that the golden plates were translated to The Book of Mormon.
- I know that this church contains the fullness of the gospel through revelation from God.
- I know that we have a living prophet that teaches and guides us through revelation.
- I know that all the light and life of the world is spread through the pure love of Jesus Christ.
- I know that Heavenly Father loves us so much that he sent his Beloved Son to atone for the sins of the world, so that we may be saved and find everlasting joy.
- I know that Jesus Christ knows each and every single one of us better than we understand.
- I know that God is of miracles and that he does amazing things for each and every single one of us.
- I know that Jesus healed the sick, made the blind see, raised the dead, turned the water to wine, calmed storms, and fed 5,000 with just five loaves of bread and two fish. All through the power of God.
- I know that God has blessed us with a nation with sacred liberties and rights of mankind. A nation where we can experience and enjoy the freedoms given to us. Only possible through the faithful people that dedicated their lives and defended this nation and its rights. And God was by their side as they fought for this nation.
- I know that the Holy Ghost speaks to all of us.
- I know that the Holy Ghost will continue to inspire us to help those that need us the most.
- I know that even though life is full of trials, disappointments, sadness, sickness, and heartache, these things are a blessing from our Heavenly Father to help us grow.
- I know that when we feel like we are alone, like no one understands what we are going through, Jesus Christ is there and knows exactly how you feel.
- I know that no matter how far we stray, no matter how lost we are, no matter what we've done, that we can repent and be made clean.
- I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are always there for us, with open arms, waiting for us to come back to them.
I say these things, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.