Latter-day Saint Life

Elder and Sister Renlund Share Profound Analogy to Help Us Understand the Purpose of the Church—Imperfections and All


“I did not hear a voice, but it was as if God told me, ‘I have been telling you all along that it is true,’” Elder Renlund said. “That experience changed me. It changed my life. It began a process of belief, a process of being on the covenant path and trying to do more and trying to do better.”

Starting with a parable of a person who has been capsized at sea, the Renlunds compared the stranded swimmer to a student navigating his or her way today.

“You are wearing a life preserver and have been swimming for hours toward what you believe is the nearest shore, but you can’t be sure,” said Elder Renlund. “You have become extremely dehydrated, so that every time you start swimming, you become light-headed. By your best estimates, the shore is 30 kilometers, or 18 miles, away. You fear for your life. In the distance you hear a small engine. The sound seems to be coming toward you; your hope of rescue soars. As you look you see a fishing boat approaching.”

The boat stops, and a kind, weather-beaten fisherman helps you on board.

“Gratefully you crawl to a seat in the boat, breathing a sigh of relief,” Sister Renlund said. “The fisherman gives you a canteen of water and some soda crackers. The water and soda crackers provide the necessary nourishment for you to recover. You are so relieved and so happy. You are on your way home.”

As the rescued person starts to feel better, he starts to pay attention to things he had not seen before—the water from the canteen was a bit stale, the nourishment was small, the fisherman is old and hard of hearing and wears worn boots and jeans, and even the boat has dents and chipped paint. When the fisherman relaxes his grip on the rudder, the boat pulls to the right.

Lead image from
Stay in the loop!
Enter your email to receive updates on our LDS Living content