What a thrilling time it is to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! When I think about recent developments in the Lord’s kingdom, it seems obvious that God is taking us on a soul-stirring journey with hills and vales and vistas so stunning we can scarcely imagine them until we climb a little higher and there they are before us.
In the past year alone, we’ve bid farewell to a beloved prophet and lovingly sustained a new one. We’ve taken a new approach to Relief Society and Melchizedek Priesthood quorum meetings, with greater emphasis on counseling together to accomplish the Lord’s work. In that same spirit, we’ve seen the Lord bring high priests and elders together in one quorum and witnessed a seismic shift in the way priesthood holders and sisters minister to God’s children. If that’s not enough to take your breath away, consider the First Presidency’s recent announcement about new resources to support personal and family scripture study, with corresponding changes to Primary and Sunday School materials—to say nothing of ongoing advancements in the areas of missionary work, family history research, and temple work.
And surely there is more to come. As our ninth article of faith declares, “We believe all that God has revealed”—that’s often the easy part. It takes a special kind of faith to “believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom,” and then to be ready to accept them, whatever they are. If we are willing, God will lead us to places we’ve never dreamed we could go—as lofty as our dreams might already be. His thoughts and His ways are certainly much higher than ours (see Isaiah 55:8–9). In a sense, I suppose we’re not unlike those in Kirtland to whom the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “You know no more concerning the destinies of this Church and kingdom than a babe upon its mother’s lap.”1
Even so, as we look back on where we’ve been, I hope we can see more than just modified policies, new programs, and revised manuals. The Lord’s work has always been ultimately about people, not programs. Whatever changes He directs in an organization or a schedule or a curriculum, what He’s really hoping to change is you and me. He wants to change our hearts and enhance our future.
No, we can’t yet see those great and important things that lie beyond the next bend in the trail. But we do have some idea about the ultimate destination:
“It doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).
“What manner of men [and women] ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27).
“You shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace” (D&C 93:20).
I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds like a long journey—and an exhilarating one! Such a divine goal, lofty though it is, is at the heart of what makes the restored gospel so attractive and inspiring. Deep in our souls is an echo—a memory—that tells us this is why we came to earth. We accepted our Father in Heaven’s plan first and foremost because we wanted to become like Him. We knew that it was a staggering goal that would never be easy to achieve. But we simply couldn’t be satisfied with anything less. Our souls were created to grow, and we were stirred then and now to make the journey.