This talk is based on the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants, section 4, verse 6: "Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence" (D&C 4:6).
Good afternoon, brothers and sisters! Thanks to the missionaries for that musical number! But if I'm gonna have to sing like that on my mission I better brush up on my singing....
And thanks to Brother Payne for that insightful talk, though I realize now that I shouldn’t have asked him to speak before me because of how insightful he is. All my insights are probably going to sound even more unintelligent.
Anyway, this is it! I am the last talk of the day meaning this is supposedly the talk you have all been waiting for. And, as my father said, I will be serving in the Colorado Denver North mission and I enter the Provo Missionary Training Center on January 22.
So, I want to talk a little bit about why I am serving a mission. It all began on a chilly, October morning. I was at college so I turned on General Conference on my computer next to me.
|President Thomas S. Monson, our current living prophet of God|
President Monson made an announcement concerning the lowering of the age requirement for boys to serve missions and I was like, whoa, can he do that? Then I figured, yes he can, because he is a prophet of God and all. Then he started talking about sister missionaries. Then, of course, right then, my Internet stopped working and I freaked out. Maybe he was going to lower the age for women? My heart was racing. I clicked refresh and I was freaking out! By the time the video reloaded, he had already made the announcement so I had to rewind a whole 10 seconds back just to hear the part I missed. It was a real first world problem.
But, then I heard it: girls can now serve missions at 19 years of age instead of the previous age requirement of 21 years. After that, I thought I’m going on a mission right now. I wasn't the only one. BYU went crazy. Girls broke up with their boyfriends and were like, "I'm going on a mission! See you never!" It was just crazy.
But, even before the announcement, I’d thought a lot about serving a mission but I still had a few years until I turned 21, so I didn’t think too much about it. Still, that thought came to mind while I was in high school, and I thought, wow, I’m pretty selfish. I hadn’t done a lot of service; I didn’t really care too much for people. Then, almost miraculously, I heard this scripture in seminary: “…when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17), which is saying the best way to serve God is to serve others. And I thought, well, what’s the best way to serve others? That’s simply, to share with them my knowledge of the gospel because THAT will bring eternal blessings that can’t be matched by anything else.
In preparing for my mission, I attended a mission preparation class at BYU from Brad Wilcox, who is amazing, by the way. Every class, we’d start out with reciting section 4 from Doctrine & Covenants. We did this because D&C 4 was revelation designated specifically towards missionaries, towards me, which is why I particularly love this section. I, along with Brother Payne, coincidentally, was asked to speak about verse 6 today, which says “Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.”
So, today, I’d like to talk about some of those attributes listed.
The scripture starts with faith. Simply put, faith is “hope for things which are not seen, which are true” (Alma 32:21). It’s the very first attribute in this scripture and I love how it's put first. It's because we need faith in order to be able to develop these godly attributes. In James, chapter 2, James talks about having faith but without good works, or service. He says, “For if a brother or sister be naked and destitute, and one of you say, depart in peace, be warmed and filled; notwithstanding he give not those things which are needful to the body; what profit is your faith unto such? ...Therefore wilt thou know, o vain man, that faith without works is dead and cannot save you? (James 2:16,18). So we can’t just sit here and say, “I have faith.” It’s more than that. We demonstrate our faith through works, through service because, again, when we serve others, we serve God.
Faith, however, is different from knowledge, though they are very closely related. I like to think of it as faith is knowledge, but knowledge isn’t faith. As long as we choose to have faith, then the Lord may reveal unto us knowledge that we didn’t know before; knowledge that we wouldn’t have known before faith. Knowledge is more of the end result of faith.
Then there’s charity, which is the pure love of Christ, the highest virtue of all. Paul teaches charity isn’t just something you do, it’s “a state of being, a state of the heart, kind feelings that engender loving actions” (Charity Never Faileth). When you strive to be charitable every day, it eventually becomes a part of you and your nature. And if you think about it, the most Christ-like person you can think of right now is probably the most charitable towards others, towards strangers even. And that is especially important for missionaries. When President Hinckley was a young missionary, he wrote to his father about how discouraged he was because no one cared to listen. His father wrote back: forget yourself and go to work. And that is what charity is: forgetting your own troubles and just serving others. And that’s what missionary work is. It’s not about me, it’s about the Lord’s people.
And I think my mother is a great example of charity. Almost every Sunday after church, she would go out to visit members of our ward who don’t have the physical ability to attend church every Sunday. This was, of course, a lot easier for her to do when I was at college, because whenever I was here, I’d complain about my hunger then we’d go straight home. But my mom is charitable.
And a big part about being charitable is being humble. In being humble, we recognize our need for God in our lives. The thing is, we all need God; we just have to realize it first. I loved Brother Arend’s testimony last week. He talked about how he was able to Skype with his son who’s on his mission. And, he talked about Alek’s humbling experience of when he realized that he can’t do it alone, can’t do any kind of service for others without God. He needed to be closer to Christ in order to carry out His work.
Lastly, there’s diligence. Diligence ties in pretty well with everything. I think diligence was intentionally placed at the very end of the scripture, just like how faith was intentionally placed at the beginning. Because after listing all of these attributes, you might feel overwhelmed. You go through the list and check off which ones you’re working on and at the very end, you reach diligence. Right at the point where you think this is getting to too much or too hard, you remember diligence and you move on. And you remember that diligence in these attributes, will bring you through anything.
So, as I was talking about this scripture with my father, he said, you forgot one important word in this scripture; that’s “remember” which Brother Payne brought up. And I thought, of course! How could I forget remember? These attributes aren’t something you can come up with in a day and then keep for the rest of your life. They’re things you develop over time and have to constantly put effort in in order to maintain these attributes. They’re things you have to remember over and over again.
Peter, the apostle, said that if we strive for each of these attributes, they will “make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8). So, if we strive to be all of these attributes, then we have the potential to become like Christ.
That being said, I’d like to thank all the people who have helped me on my own personal pathway to being like Christ. Thanks to my seminary teacher Sister Knibbe for the last three years of my high school career, and Sister Turley, for my very first year starting me off right. And to my other seminary teachers: Sister Oakes, Sister Schwartz. And all of my Young Women and Sunday School teachers who were all contributors to my testimony. And shout-out to my friends who didn't have to come out today but they did anyway in support of me. And thanks to my parents for putting up with me for 19 years of my life and always sticking up for me.
Brothers and sisters, I know that this Church is so true. I know that Christ lives and He is always there for us. And as long as we strive to develop these attributes in our own lives, we'll be able to be just like Him. I'm currently trying to develop these attributes so I can serve the people of Denver better. I can't wait to go out and share the message of Christ.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.