Our Special Responsibility

Pacific LDS WomenI was sitting in Relief Society when the teacher asked us a fairly simple question: Why are we special? A few generic answers were given, but one of those generic answers (which we’ve heard a million times) suddenly didn’t sit well with me. The answer given was: Because we have the gospel.

 

I continued to sit quietly in class, but suddenly my mind was on fire. I had complete clarity with new understanding. We are NOT special because we have the gospel. EVERYONE is special because they exist on this earth. The reason why we are special is because we have a SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITY placed upon us to live, share, and defend the gospel of Jesus Christ. Love will be our catalyst, and if we learn to watch, we can have wonderful opportunities.

This past General Conference, Elder Dallin H. Oaks spoke on missionary work–yes, that old tired subject we all feel like squirming in our seats over. In the past, I have simply felt guilty. Being a homemaker, and living in the heart of “Mormon country,” I never seemed to have a lot of opportunities to do missionary work, so these talks often left me feeling useless and frustrated. Occasionally, I prayed half-heartedly for opportunities and even experienced some random moments to share the gospel. Over the years, my attitude has changed, however. I now feel a surge within me, a desire to share the love I feel of my Savior and His gospel. I absolutely understand this special responsibility that is mine to bear and share. My testimony comes from being watchful, prayerful, and ready; my personal worthiness allowing the spirit to always be with me.

 

Elder Oaks actually mentioned these same three things in his talk. “There are three things all members can do to help share the gospel, regardless of the circumstances in which they live and work:

  1. Pray for desire to help
  2. Keep the commandments ourselves
  3. Pray for what we can do

 

Then he gave us an apostolic command, one we can no longer set aside and ignore:

 

“As an Apostle of the Lord, I urge every member and family in the church to pray for the Lord to help them find persons prepared to receive the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.”

 

The few times I have felt success in bringing the gospel to someone has been a joyful experience; yes, scary at first, but always joyful in the end. After the fact, I realize I didn’t really have that much to do with it. I opened the door, but it was the spirit that walked through and touched their lives. I just stood there bearing witness to what I knew to be true. If I truly believed this work was true, why wouldn’t I want to share it and see it change someone else’s life as it’s changed mine? Don’t we want the world to feel that same joy?

 

As I mentioned before, I really don’t have that many opportunities, BUT I am on social media, as facebookmany of us are. I can use this vehicle to share my faith, or at the very least show people where I stand in terms of my moral standards.

 

When Sis. Oscarson was first called as the Young Women General President, overnight it was learned she had a Pinterest page and people were ogling all of her pins. Luckily, or maybe because she took her special responsibility seriously, her pins were exemplary. My friend, Terri, wrote a post “Would Your Pinterest Page Pass the Bonnie Oscarson Test?” We all have to consider where we are standing if we expect to invite anyone else in with our example. Sis. Oscarson passed her own test, and hopefully, so can we.

 

By taking Elder Oaks’ challenge and following his three points we will be taking on our special responsibility. What a gift to be able to share such happiness with people we randomly run across and especially with those we care very deeply for. We are all “special” but in addition we who have the gospel also have a special responsibility, as members of Jesus Christ’s church, to share His gospel with everyone.

 

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Jan Tolman

Jan Tolman is a wife, mother of six, and grandmother of seven. She is a writer, as well as speaker, on the history of the Relief Society at www.ldswomenofgod.com. Several articles, written by her on Relief Society history, have been published in the Deseret News. She has taught Institute and served as a docent at the Church History Museum. She urges everyone to learn something new about Church History, and especially about the incredible women of LDS faith.

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About Jan Tolman

Jan Tolman is a wife, mother of six, and grandmother of seven. She is a writer, as well as speaker, on the history of the Relief Society at www.ldswomenofgod.com. Several articles, written by her on Relief Society history, have been published in the Deseret News. She has taught Institute and served as a docent at the Church History Museum. She urges everyone to learn something new about Church History, and especially about the incredible women of LDS faith.

2 thoughts on “Our Special Responsibility

  1. Rozy

    Thanks so much for sharing your testimony. We do have a special responsibility and you’ve given me some more food for thought which will give me the strength to act upon the calling from Elder Oaks.

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