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President Oaks teaches that we are not better than others; Elder Stevenson says ‘membership has its privileges’—and its responsibilities

by | Mar. 04, 2021

Editor’s note: “This week from the Pulpit” highlights recent messages by General Authorities and General Officers of the Church.

Speaking to missionaries of the Salt Lake Temple Square Mission, President Dallin H. Oaks taught that there are three key things that make The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth”: the fulness of His doctrine, the power of His priesthood, and a unique testimony of Jesus Christ, as reported by Church News.

However, President Oaks taught that this should not create in members of the Church a “holier than thou” attitude.

“We should try to avoid all of those ideas because none of them is true,” President Oaks taught. “God has not taught us anything that should cause us to feel arrogant or superior to other people.”

Sister Kristen Oaks also spoke to the missionaries and encouraged them to love their companions. 

“It can be a great blessing to have association with those very different from ourselves and learn to communicate and serve together,” she said. 

Read more from their remarks at Church News

Blessings and Responsibilities of Belonging

From 1987 to 1996, with the exception of a single 11-month interruption, American Express capitalized on the same ad slogan: “Membership has its privileges.” Speaking to students at Brigham Young University on Tuesday, Elder Gary E. Stevenson said the same is true of membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or put another way: “Belonging brings blessings.” Elder Stevenson highlighted several of these blessings, such as access to education and temples.

However, he also spoke of the responsibilities of membership in the Church. These responsibilities include: 

  1. Living the gospel of Jesus Christ
  2. Caring for those in need
  3. Inviting all to receive the gospel
  4. Uniting families for eternity

“As we strive to fulfill these divinely appointed responsibilities as part of the Lord’s work,” Elder Stevenson said, “the Church provides a multitude of resources. These are blessings pouring down upon us from heaven. They come in many forms. Many are customized to our age, location, and circumstance. Some of these blessings result from covenants we make as Church members. Others bless the lives of all of God’s children.” 

He went on to outline the blessings given to aid us in accomplishing the aforementioned divine responsibilities. 

Listen to Elder Stevenson’s entire talk at BYU Speeches.

Peace in a Pandemic

Last Friday, February 26, Elder Ulisses Soares, Sister Reyna I. Aburto, and other Church leaders spoke to Native American Latter-day Saints in the Chinle, Arizona, region during a special devotional and offered a message of hope, as reported by Church News

Elder Soares promised that this pandemic will pass as any other trial, and we will ultimately be stronger having gone through it. He reminded listeners of others who have gone through afflictions, including Nephi, who Elder Soares said approached disappointment and discouragement “through the eyes of faith.” He also reminded them that as the Lord told Joseph Smith, if we never had the bitter, we would not be able to know the sweet.

“I know that even being acquainted with these important principles, it is still difficult to understand why these things happen, isn’t it? And I guess we won’t understand it perfectly until we cross to the other side of the veil,” Elder Soares said. “When we get there, I believe that our eyes will be opened to many things we can’t see now.”

Sister Aburto introduced herself as a “cousin” to those listening, as she is a Nicaraguan from the Nicarao tribe. She highlighted some of the things that are prevalent in Native American communities, specifically abuse and addiction, that may cause those listening to feel unable from reaching their divine potential. She promised them that they are capable of breaking harmful cycles and building places of security. Additionally, she testified of Jesus Christ’s love and concern for them. 

“He wants you to know you are of infinite worth to Him,” she said. “He will heal you—not because of anything you have done, but because you have been wounded by another. He sends angels to encircle about you.”

She reminded them that we are all in need of healing of some form or another, and that there is no reason to feel shame if you are a victim of abuse. 

Read more about these remarks at Church News.

Goals Are for Our Good

Goals are an important part of BYU-Pathway Worldwide. In a devotional, Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis of the Seventy drove home the importance of goal setting to the school’s students on March 2, 2021. He emphasized that setting goals would not only make a difference in what is accomplished in life but also would make life less difficult. 

“Life is already difficult enough as it is. Without goals and plans, life can be ever harder,” he taught. 

He encouraged students to picture the kind of person they would like to be, their future family, and the way that family would live their life together. He then promised that if goals are set and worked toward, God’s ability to work with us will exceed our expectations. 

“He will bless us beyond our dreams. He will take us farther than we could take ourselves on our own,” he said. 

Watch Elder Aidukaitis’s full devotional at BYU-Pathway Worldwide

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