From the Church

Watch: Elder Uchtdorf’s ‘walk through a forest’ analogy is brought to life in a new Church video

Image from YouTube.

In his October 2021 general conference address, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf emphasized the importance of daily restoration.

“We can’t rely on others’ testimonies forever,” he said. “We must build our own. We need an ongoing, daily infusion of heavenly light. We need ‘times of refreshing.’ Times of personal restoration.”

To further emphasize his point, Elder Uchtdorf shared the findings from a 2009 study from the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics. In their test, they took participants to a thick forest and asked them to walk in a straight line. The forest had no visible landmarks, and test subjects had to rely solely on their sense of direction.

In the study, participants confidently claimed that they had not deviated in the slightest from walking in a straight line when many actually walked in circles. In fact, the GPS data from the participants showed that some of them walked in loops as small as 20 meters in diameter.

This test and its surprising results have now been depicted in an inspiring new video produced by the Church, which compares the study to our gospel living. Elder Uchtdorf’s conference message is also highlighted in the video.

“Most of the changes in our spiritual lives—both positive and negative—happen gradually, a step at a time,” he says. “Like the participants in the Max Planck study, we may not realize when we veer off course. We may even have high confidence that we are walking a straight line. But the fact is that without the help of landmarks to guide us, we inevitably deviate off course and end up in places we never thought we would be.”

Of her experience, one woman in the video says that “it can be so easy to get off track because we don’t realize when we are drifting. We don’t realize when are taking small steps away.”

But, as one man in the video shares, “Just as small little things can lead us off the path, small little things can also lead us back on the path.”

Another participant remarks, “I don’t think this experience was to say that when you go in circles, you’re never going to come back. People can come back and they can change.”

You can watch the full video and hear more of Elder Uchtdorf’s message of hope in the player below.

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