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I am a Mormon Missionary serving in the Michigan Lansing Mission. I enjoy serving the people of Michigan and love the area. I am also an ice cream addict in the process of recovery :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Struggle of Leadership

D&C 121:33-34 "Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death."

   The counsel provided in these two verses has proved to be one of the hardest challenges I have come upon. In my short time here on Earth I have been on both sides of the Eternal War. Disobedient to God as well as obedient. After finally coming to the realization that God's side is the best side I was no longer, " left unto [myself], to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God." In this most grand struggle, I came out on the right side, but not without a few rough edges. Temptation is still prevalent, and my patience is weak. Although I face many challenges and at times feel as if I am less than the dust of the Earth, there is a glimmer of hope. That glimmer is my decision to trust God and my faith that His promises will be fulfilled.

   Unfortunately, many of those around me have not made the same decision to trust in God and to be obedient to His commands.  At times I have struggled with the fact that everyone has their free will to choose what they will do. Nothing that I do will ever change them. They have to change themselves. Nephi tells us that, "when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men." Notice that it says "unto" and not "into." We can bring the Holy Ghost unto someones heart but they have to let it in. They have to unharden their hearts and listen to the still small voice. This fact is often hard to deal with and can provoke many emotions and actions from those on both sides of the fence. From lack of patience on the part of the person trying to help to the ignorantly motivated actions and ideas of the recipient, these situations can often turn into a mess. How do we help people to change though? This question has one answer, "Charity never faileth."

   As stated above in the verse from the D&C, we must reprove people but then show forth an increase of love. How do we show forth an increase of love? One of the many ways that charity manifests itself is in the understanding of others. You cannot help people by telling them what to change. You have to listen to them, understand their point of view and then tell them why they should change. "True doctrine understood changes attitudes and behavior." People have to understand why they should change before they will be motivated to unharden their hearts and let the Spirit in. This process however takes time. In D&C 121:41 the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith the way to maintain power and influence. There is no other way, "Only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned." We have to be patient, we have to show forth love and ultimately we have to have faith in God to effectively help our brothers and sisters get back to Him.  I know that if we teach others the "why," they themselves will change the "what." Help all of those around you by showing forth love and by teaching the pure doctrine of Christ. If you do this you will become an effective advocate of the Lord and receive the happiness that comes only from serving Him. For the Lord has said, "If it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father." God lives, He loves us, and He wants us to be happy. Of this I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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