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This Week from the Pulpit: Our "Spiritual GPS," Improving Our Gospel Vocabulary and the "Zion Mentality"

by | Jan. 31, 2020

Editor's note: "This Week from the Pulpit" highlights recent messages by General Authorities and general officers of the Church. 

It seems that now more than ever, we need spiritual guidance from Church Leaders—maybe even a spiritual GPS. This past week, Church leaders, including Elder Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, delivered inspired messages to direct us on the right path. Here are a few summaries of their messages. 

Elder James R. Rasband, BYU- Idaho Devotional 

The focus of General Authority Seventy Elder Rasband’s message to BYU-Idaho students concerned itself with the importance of using the right vocabulary when discussing Jesus Christ and His gospel. He said,“My hope is to extend an invitation to consider how our gospel vocabulary can help or hinder our ability to always remember Him.”

Elder Rasband identified four examples of how using certain vocabulary can distance us from the gospel and the Savior. 

He first placed emphasis on the most obvious adjustment: using the correct name of the Church. He said, “[It] is not a name change. It is not rebranding. It is not inconsequential.” 

The effort to keep Christ at the center of the gospel is not exclusive to the name of the Church, but also how we refer to the atoning sacrifice of the Savior. Elder Rasband warned against shortening this sacrifice by referring to it as simply ‘the Atonement.’ Elder Rasband referenced a quote by President Nelson in regard to using phrases that do not involve Christ’s sacrifice, “These expressions present a real life risk of misdirecting faith by treating the event as if it had living existence and capabilities independent of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.”

Elder Rasband noted that another linguistic shortcut is that of separating the idea of faith from Jesus Christ. Regarding the first principle of the gospel, he said,  “[It] is not faith unmodified, but ‘faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,’” Elder Rasband said. “The difference is subtle but crucial. If we decouple faith from the Savior, we run the risk of thinking of faith as something like the power of positive thinking — we just need enough ‘faith,’ enough wanting it, and then we can control our circumstances.”

Elder Rasband cautioned against using number of Baptisms as a measuring stick of success for missionaries and eliminating the role of Jesus Christ in the baptism process. “It is critical to remember and reinforce baptism’s antecedent connection to the Savior,” Elder Rasband said. “Our purpose is not to ‘get baptisms’ per se, but to invite people to take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ and to receive a remission of their sins through His atoning sacrifice, which is symbolized by the ordinance of baptism.”

Read a summary of Elder Rasband’s message at: thechurchnews.com

Elder Larry Echo Hawk, Memorial Ceremony for the Bear River Massacre

Emeritus General Authority Seventy, Elder Echo Hawk, spoke to members of the Shoshone nation on Wednesday in Preston, Idaho. Elder Echo Hawk’s message was part of a memorial ceremony commemorating the 157th anniversary of the Bear River Massacre. 

Although Elder Echo Hawk’s remarks are centered around the remembrance of the 250 to 500 Shoshone men, women, and children that were killed by the hands of federal troops over a century ago, he expressed hope for the future of the tribal nation. 

Elder Echo Hawk, a member of the Pawnee nation and a former assistant secretary for Indian Affairs for the U.S. Department of the Interior, said “This is a day of remembrance. It is vitally important that we retain this history ... and create a new history,” Elder Echo Hawk continued, “It’s fitting to remember those terrible times. I’ve seen enormous progress that’s been made among the tribal nations in the United States. It’s wonderful to see that progress, and not just economic progress, it’s also relations. Improvement of tribal-state relations is very critical.”

Read a summary of Elder Echo Hawk’s message at: deseret.com

Elder Ulisses Soares, LDS Business College 

Elder Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke at a recent devotional for LDS Business College students. His message surrounded one item: a GPS. 

Elder Soares likened the gospel of Jesus Christ and His teachings to a spiritual GPS that guides us today. He urged the audience to look for the Lord’s guidance in the form of scripture and the words of the Prophet.

 Elder Soares emphasized trust in our modern day Prophet, President Nelson. “[He] is in a critical position to bear a powerful witness of Jesus Christ and guide the Church today as he seeks to bring Him to all of the world.”

 He also counseled against looking for guidance elsewhere.“We put ourselves in spiritual danger when we trust only our own wisdom and turn off this spiritual GPS,” Elder Soares said. “Therefore, following the words of the Lord and His prophets is not only an issue of convenience but more importantly it is a question of spiritual survival.” 

Read a summary of Elder Soares' message at: thechurchnews.com

Sister Sharon Eubank, J. Reuben Clark Law Society Annual Fireside

Sister Eubank, the first counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, spoke to those in attendance at the J. Reuben Clark Law Society Fireside. An advocate for humanitarian work, Sister Eubank spoke about recognizing injustice in the world and the importance of willingness to improve society. 

Sister Eubank told those in attendance, those practicing law and hoping to, that they have a uniquely individual opportunity to change the world for good. 

“If we are aware, each of us, in our circles, has many opportunities at the local level, with whatever unique professional and spiritual skills we have, to bring solutions and resources to [difficult] circumstances,” Sister Eubank said.

Sister Eubank, who has worked with the welfare department of the Church for many years, encouraged her audience to join, what she called "the Zion revolution." She explained that we all must “share expertise freely so we can be of one mind, to work side by side with others very different from us, so we can be of one heart, to keep the laws of heaven and earth so we can dwell in righteousness, to build up our characters so there will be no poor among us.”

Read a summary of Sister Eubank's message at: thechurchnews.com

General Authority and General Officer Social Posts 


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Greyson Gurley

A Georgia native, Greyson Gurley is the current editorial intern for LDS Living. She is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English and was a member of the badminton club. Her life goals include actually learning French, saving the environment, and finding the perfect chocolate croissant.

Comments and feedback can be sent to feedback@ldsliving.com