“What does it mean to you to be ‘all in’ the gospel of Jesus Christ?” This year, we have asked over 50 people this same question and, amazingly enough, almost every answer has been different. Here is our countdown of the top 10 most-downloaded All In interviews in 2019 and what it meant to each guest to be “all in”:
“I love that you guys ask this question. And I was thinking about it on the way down here. For me, I feel like to be all in I need to allow myself to be vulnerable and teachable. And I need to trust the plans that Heavenly Father has for me because He's going to lead me down greater paths than I can take myself, you know. And being vulnerable is just, for me, letting people in or sharing my testimony or just different things like that, wanting to read the scriptures because sometimes that can be really difficult, but I need to be vulnerable to be teachable and be able to trust Heavenly Father.”
“I adore that question so much. For me, it means asking yourself this follow up: ‘What am I willing to give up?’ Christ has asked a lot of men and women who chose to follow Him. Men set their nets down and said, ‘We will go and we will do.’ In more recent days, families said, ‘We'll leave it all behind and will walk from one side of the country to the other knowing that we will bury our own on the way.’ Being "all in" the gospel Jesus Christ means being willing to get on your knees and to say, ‘Father, I will give up this habit. This bit of social media. This toxic and dangerous relationship,’ and then walking. And walking away from your past, and being willing to let him make you new again and to walk with you. For me, that's what it means to be" all in." What will you give up for him?
Jacob Hess: I would love to be able to answer that with some dramatic, big answer. But my answer might sound more mundane than that. I like to think there's, in days where I get overwhelmed with the busyness and stuff, I like to pause and just say, "Okay, there's one thing on the schedule, there's just only one thing on the schedule . . . what does God really want me to do right now, today?" And if I'm willing to really fill my schedule with whatever I really believe God wants me to do, even if it's not dramatic, even if it's mundane and simple. Those are the times, I feel like I am "all in." In other words, that scripture, "Lose your life and you'll find it." It seems like, "Oh, I gotta go do something dramatic." But sometimes, for me, losing my life is letting go of my big idea of all this stuff that I'm supposed to do and instead being willing to just be here to whatever God is asking now. And very often, it's not this big, old dramatic stuff. It's, "Am I willing to really spend time with this person? Am I willing to make extra time for my boys? Am I willing to read, this radical thing called reading? Am I willing to make time in the morning before starting work for a little space and silence?" Those are the times where I feel like I'm really there. I'm really "all in."
Ty Mansfield: I think that for me, for a lot of my life, it was about being a good member of the Church. And everything was, as we've talked about today, a lot of it was framed in terms of Church activity and being a good member. And that was the way that I think I saw things. About 15 years ago, I had a bit of an existential crisis, though. And in that, I think, for the first time I, I felt . . . I had an experience that I think for the first time in my life, I understood what it means to be saved. And ever since then, it's been less about being a good member and more about being a disciple. . . . and to be a disciple is to, to disciple is to teach and to be in a tutoring mentoring relationship with Christ. And remembering that all things work together for good for those who love God. And so for me, to be "all in" means that I'm willing to trust the process. I'm willing to be in the moment, trust the process, believe that all things have purpose and design. Every experience that we have here is designed to lead us to sanctification, be that the mundane moments of parenting or the beautiful moments of spiritual communion, that when we do each of those with an eye single to the glory of God, knowing that every moment is designed to teach us something about God or to lead us into relationship with God and living from that space. To me, that's what it means to be "all in."
I'm . . . reminded of a passage from 1 Corinthians 15, where Paul says, "When all things are subjected to [Christ], then the Son Himself will be subjected to the One who subjected everything to Him. So that God may be all in all." That's a beautiful, that's a beautiful phrase there from Paul. In the end, God's aim is to be all in all. And I think that's a pretty good description of what the Atonement does. It gathers all in, right? It circumscribes the whole world into one great whole, it makes us all in all, in the gospel, it's an invitation to participate in God's work of being all in all. And the only way you can do that, of course, the only way you can participate in being all in all, is if you're all in and that's the work. Die early, put all your chips in, go all in.
I think when I think of that term, being "all in," I think what it means is that I'm not afraid to sacrifice something. I've always loved the story in the Book of Mormon about, you know, was it King Lamoni? I'm totally blanking on his name. And it's just, it's basically getting to the root of, like, what are we willing to give up to know God? Like, what are we willing to give up? What are we willing to sacrifice? And for me, I guess what I would, what I would like to think about is that there's nothing I wouldn't sacrifice, there's nothing I wouldn't give up. And I just hope that through the actions of being able to share the experiences that I've been blessed with, and to be honest, and open and transparent with others, that they can realize that these experiences are available to them. And I think that, to me, that's really a calling that I feel like I've tried to take on, is celebrating that beauty and sharing that beauty with the world. And I hope that nothing ever gets in my way, no amount of success will ever get in the way of me being willing to give up all of it to know my Savior.
So I'm going to tell you that I used to have a different perspective of what "all in" meant. Years ago, I thought "all in" meant a checklist: reading my scriptures, going to church, saying my prayers, blah, blah, blah. The list goes on and on. Right? . . . And as I have strengthened my testimony throughout the years and gotten a closer relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, I truly believe that "all in" in the gospel means loving as Christ would love. Loving Him and loving your neighbor. And loving your neighbor includes yourself and your family and the strangers around us. And I believe that if we truly love Jesus Christ, then those other things we'll want to do naturally, read our scriptures, go to church, things like that because we love Him. But I believe that Jesus Christ came to this earth to love, and His whole purpose was to show us how to love. He loved, the sick, the sinner, the lonely, the outcast. And if we are to be "all in," in this gospel, then we're to love the sick, the outcast, the sinner, any person around us. And so that is how my all in in the gospel has changed over the years.
Hashtag "all in" (Laughs) I did know that was coming. I need some tissue, I'll get through this. So "all in" . . . I love the moment in the New Testament when there's kind of a squabble over theology. And they asked Christ, like, you know, tell us the great commandments, like, what's, can you boil it all down for us? And He says, "Love God, love your neighbor." So, my sense is that being "all in" is being willing to let Christ into our lives so deeply that everything in us that isn't godly love burns away. And that is a moment-to-moment, day-to-day spiritual exercise of, "Can I let the parts of me that aren't pure love be smelted out just by the heat and the intense flames of the Spirit?" And I've found that just having an intention to try to live that way is a recipe for really profound happiness.
At one point in Abram's journey, when we actually started chemo, they push the button and you watch it start infusing into his body, knowing the havoc that it's going to wreak and knowing the numbers are just going to keep going down. His levels had to get all the way to zero. And at one point, when they were at I think 200, he caught a cold. And when you don't have an immune system and you catch a cold, it's deadly. And all the doctors are coming in, they're kind of scrambling and it was really frantic. They were trying to figure out "What do we do?" It was a simple rhinovirus, the common cold. They didn't know, "Should we stop, should we wait? What do you think?" And they consulted and talked, and they talked to us about it. And it was such a pivotal moment because his levels would have hit zero no matter what. And if we had waited, they would have hit zero and we would have been waiting at zero. And you can't go back, there was no reversing it. That point of almost no return where we had committed to the chemo and Abram couldn't go back. He was all in. This is his shot and this was his one chance, we couldn't redo it. And I think that moment has meant a lot to me, where we decided to just keep going forward, where we hit the big roadblock, and you don't know how it's gonna turn out, but you're already in it. And you're all in, and you don't go back, and you don't second guess, and you can't just stay. There's no steady, even, middle ground. You have to just march forward. That experience with Abram has taught me a lot about being "all in." He was "all in," and I'm so grateful that they didn't pause or wait, and I hope in my life I can be "all in." For me, being "all in" the gospel of Jesus Christ is just trusting Him. Believing that He has the answers that I need and believing that He can make everything right in the next life. All that is unfair about life will be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. And being "all in" is committing 100 percent to whatever He asks me to do, whether that's take my son to get a bone marrow transplant or share his story or whatever He asks us to do, to do it. To have faith and being "all in" means never giving up. There were lots of moments where it would have been easier to just throw in the towel, but we're here on earth. This is our one shot to try it out and do it, and so being "all in" is diving in headfirst and embracing all that comes with that. The good and the messy and the miracles and blessings.
“You know, to me, it means I'm in for the long haul. Sadly, and unfortunately, I've met too many people in the last five to seven years who've left the Church. They didn't like this or they didn't like that, or this bothers me or this bothers me. I had never appreciated what the phrase meant when Heber C. Kimball years ago said, "Be careful because there will come a time, a day of sifting." I didn't know what sifting was, I was a city boy. I didn't know what you did with grain to sift it. But I know now because I've watched people, dear, dear friends and loved ones, be sifted. And so for me, John Taylor and Brigham Young had a phrase they would say, "It's the kingdom of God or nothing." And I've even said in comical moments, you know, what if Jeffrey Holland and Dallin Oaks and Henry Eyring and Russell Ballard are going to go down, I'm going down with them because they're not bad people to hang out with. Okay? And in other words, my wife and I, we have one greatest desire, it's to live and die firm in the faith. And if I were ever asked by a leader of the Church or the Lord, "Where do you stand?" I want to be able to say, I've been loyal to Church leadership. And I've tried to be loyal to the Lord. I don't think you can do that if you're only two-thirds of the way there. And "all in" for me means you buy the whole package. You buy the whole package, and that comes . . . [with] the Church with its members and their flaws. As Elder Holland put it beautifully, God is working with people who are flawed, "It must be terribly discouraging for Him," he said, "but He deals with it. And so must we." And so with me, it's the kingdom of God or nothing. It means I don't have anything that I'm not willing to do to build up the kingdom of God if I'm called on to do it, that's what it means to me.
For me, it's responding to Jesus's call. He asks everything of us, and I'm not there yet, but I want to be there. So I'm not sure that I can honestly say that I've consecrated everything to Him, that I've put everything on the altar, but the more and closer that I get to Him, the more I want to, and for me that the "all in" part of it is that my desires, when they're at their best, are entirely towards the Lord and towards trying to be the person that he wants me to be. And so for me, I want every part of my life, I want intellectually, socially, in my family, I want all of those things to, in some way, witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. So for me, that's what it means to be "all in." I'm there. I'm totally committed 110 percent because I know that it's the path that's going to lead me to happiness.