This is a General Conference Odyssey post for the Sunday morning session of April 1976.
We talk about the work of God, but what exactly are we doing about it? Below is a list from Robert L. Simpson, who spoke on “These Four Things.” He didn’t just talk about the work of God, he asked us to remember our vow when we promised we would actually perform the work necessary to bring salvation to all of Heavenly Father’s children.
First, the obligation to prepare one’s self and one’s immediate family for the presence of the Lord;
He explains how important it is to take care of one’s own spirituality first. We have to complete our own ordinances first. We have to know and understand the doctrines of Jesus Christ’s saving gospel first. We have to commit to righteous living first if we are ever to convince anyone else.
If you’ll recall this past conference, Pres. Russell M. Nelson challenged all of us to “consecrate a portion of [our] time each week to study everything Jesus said and did as recorded in the standard works.” After completing his own challenge he said, “I am a different man!” (Apr. 2017)
Second, the obligation to be our brother’s keeper and to lift other Church members;
What does it really mean to be our brother’s keeper? In the world we live in today, people are telling us to accept all people as they are, or as they choose to be. This apparently is the only way to be loving, open-minded, and judgment-free of all people and all representations.
Elder Simpson instead talks about Home Teaching/Visiting Teaching. This responsibility, when done correctly, is the most unifying feature of our church. This is how we get to know one another at a one-to-one level; where we can love and serve one another in meaningful ways. It was never meant to be a once-a-month duty, but instead an opportunity to reach out to our brothers/sisters, discovering many ways to love, serve, and save one another. It is also where we carry with us a message that can touch the hearts of those we are truly meant to love and reach out to. He adds,
“And now, listen to this, directly from the Lord: ‘And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.’ (D&C 88:77.) This is not a mere suggestion, but listen: ‘I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another.’”
Third, the obligation to share the most precious gift we have, the gospel, with those who have not yet caught the vision;
Our responsibility is to help convert the world and save them back into the eternal presence of their Father in Heaven. Elder Simpson said,
“During the recent tour of area conferences in the South Pacific, President Kimball was obviously impressed as we met dozens of Indian converts in Fiji. He recognized these pioneers of their race as the possibility for a future thrust into the masses of India when the time is right.”
What an interesting thought. Most of the refugees that are entering our country today come
from Arab nations. We know the Lord works in mysterious ways.
Fourth, the obligation to provide an opportunity of eternal blessings for our kindred dead.
The attitude toward Family History work has not changed much over the years. We continue to hope someone else is doing the work for us.
“Many of us are coasting along under the false illusion that now the computer and the microfilm will do it all for us! Though these modern methods are essential and helpful, no machine will ever be able to provide salvation for any man unless that man does what he must do himself. There are no shortcuts to exaltation.”
Today, we can research original records from our laptops and phones. We are running out of excuses and will finally have to face the responsibility we have been asked to do, as well as the vow we once made in heaven–that we are to aid in the salvation of the souls of mankind. We must be the ones to perform the work.
All that’s necessary to catch the vision of the work of God is actually doing the work. Yes, we are the ones who must learn the doctrine, teach the doctrine, offer love and service, and take our ancestors to the temple.
Additional General Conference Odyssey posts:
Willingness to share and understand Marilyn Nielson