There were several things I learned or was reminded of with this and similar interviews:
- I learned that many less-active members have loved ones on their knees daily petitioning the Lord for help in rescuing their loved one.
- I learned that it is not all that easy or comfortable for a less-active member to just walk back into the Church. They need help. They need support. They need fellowship.
- I learned we have less-active members who are trying and willing to find the path back to activity.
- I learned that many less-active members will hold callings if asked.
- I learned that a less-active member deserves to be treated as an equal and be viewed as a son or daughter of a loving God.
Over the years I have wondered how this interview might have gone had I approached her as a less-active Church member. I leave you to be the judge.
Reactivation has always been an important part of the work of the Lord. While the rescue is a responsibility of every member, holders of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood have the responsibility to lead out in this work. After all, that is what priesthood service is all about--bringing all people to the exalting covenants; bringing peace, happiness, and self-worth.
From the Book of Mormon you will recall when Alma the Younger discovered that the Zoramites had fallen away from the Church, he organized a reactivation team to rescue these people. As they approached their assignment, Alma pleaded with the Lord with these words:
"O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ.
"Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee" (Alma 31:34-35; emphasis added).
The charge to rescue is based on one of the most fundamental doctrines of the Church.
"Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
"For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. ...
"And 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!" (D&C 18:10-11, 15; emphasis added).
I have had the privilege of rescuing a few less-active members over my lifetime. Now when I help bring one back to Church activity, I don't visualize a single soul; I see six, seven, or more generations--thousands of souls. And then I think of the scripture: "Bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy" (D&C 18:15).
- Richard C. Edgley, “The Rescue for Real Growth“, April 2012 General Conference
In the general Relief Society meeting of September 2006, President Gordon B. Hinckley related an experience shared by a divorced single mother of seven children then ranging in ages from 7 to 16. She had gone across the street to deliver something to a neighbor. She said:
"As I turned around to walk back home, I could see my house lighted up. I could hear echoes of my children as I had walked out of the door a few minutes earlier. They were saying: 'Mom, what are we going to have for dinner?' 'Can you take me to the library?' 'I have to get some poster paper tonight.' Tired and weary, I looked at that house and saw the light on in each of the rooms. I thought of all of those children who were home waiting for me to come and meet their needs. My burdens felt heavier than I could bear.
"I remember looking through tears toward the sky, and I said, 'Dear Father, I just can't do it tonight. I'm too tired. I can't face it. I can't go home and take care of all those children alone. Could I just come to You and stay with You for just one night? ...'
"I didn't really hear the words of reply, but I heard them in my mind. The answer was: 'No, little one, you can't come to me now. ... But I can come to you.'"2
Thank you, sisters, for all that you are doing to raise your family and maintain a loving home where there is goodness, peace, and opportunity.
Although you often feel alone, in truth you are never totally on your own. As you move forward in patience and in faith, Providence will move with you; heaven will bestow its needful blessings.
Your perspective and view of life will change when, rather than being cast down, you look up.
Many of you have already discovered the great, transforming truth that when you live to lift the burdens of others, your own burdens become lighter. Although circumstances may not have changed, your attitude has. You are able to face your own trials with greater acceptance, a more understanding heart, and deeper gratitude for what you have, rather than pining for what you yet lack.
You have discovered that when we extend lines of hopeful credit to those whose life accounts seem empty, our own coffers of consolation are enriched and made full; our cup truly "runneth over" (Psalm 23:5).
- David S. Baxter, “Faith, Fortitude, Fulfillment: A Message to Single Parents“, April 2012 General Conference
Submitted by: Bruce Hiatt ~ Thanks!
Beautiful faces are those that wear--
It matters little if dark or fair--
Whole-souled honesty printed there.
Beautiful eyes are those that show,
Like crystal panes where hearthfires glow,
Beautiful thoughts that burn below.
Beautiful lips are those whose words
Leap from the heart like songs of birds,
Yet whose utterance prudence girds.
Beautiful hands are those that do
Work that is honest and brave and true,
Moment by moment the long day through.
Beautiful feet are those that go
On kindly ministries to and fro,
Down lowliest ways, if God wills it so.
Beautiful shoulders are those that bear
Ceaseless burdens of homely care
With patient grace and daily prayer.
Beautiful lives are those that bless
Silent rivers of happiness,
Whose hidden fountains but few may guess.
Beautiful twilight at set of sun,
Beautiful goal with race well won,
Beautiful rest with work well done.
Beautiful graves where grasses creep,
Where brown leaves fall, where drifts lie deep
Over worn-out hands--oh! beautiful sleep!
Ellen P. Allerton
Therefore, at this time of economic difficulty, let us rejoice in the fact that we have the restored gospel which gives perspective to the ups and downs in life. Let troubled times serve as a catalyst for introspection and soul searching--followed by increased spirituality. We need to be more sensitive to those around us who may be affected more than ourselves and help each other through this valley. As a people, we should rise to the challenge and grow from it. We need to proceed with optimism and not fall victim to the debilitating effects of negative, doomsday attitudes. - J. Thomas Fyans, “Employment Challenges in the 1980s,” Ensign (CR) April 1982
God loves every one of his children--of that we are absolutely assured, we know it in our hearts--but God needs instruments of his love. He needs those who can carry his love and make it meaningful and personal in the lives of others. The shepherd's search for the lost sheep was a mission of grace and so was the joyful journey of the forgiving father when he ran to meet the penitent prodigal who had come to himself and had, with trepidation, started home. - Marion D. Hanks, “Gifts You Can’t Wrap,” New Era, December 1972
Submitted by: Edina Heizerne Auer – Thanks!
Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught:
As a child, when I would look at the little forget-me-nots, I sometimes felt a little like that flower--small and insignificant. I wondered if I would be forgotten by my family or by my Heavenly Father.
Years later I can look back on that young boy with tenderness and compassion. And I do know now--I was never forgotten.
And I know something else: as an Apostle of our Master, Jesus Christ, I proclaim with all the certainty and conviction of my heart--neither are you!
You are not forgotten.
Sisters, wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love.
Just think of it: You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful, and glorious Being in the universe! You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time!
Each of us is a runner in the race of life. Comforting is the fact that there are many runners. Reassuring is the knowledge that our eternal Scorekeeper is understanding. Challenging is the truth that each must run. But you and I do not run alone. That vast audience of family, friends, and leaders will cheer our courage, will applaud our determination as we rise from our stumblings and pursue our goal. - Thomas S. Monson, “Never Give Up,” Ensign, September 1994
We make a mistake if we think we are fulfilling the law of God which commands that His servants shall be honored by honoring the more prominent officials in the church while we sneer at and laugh at and deride the efforts of the more humble servants of God who come among us to instruct us in the things of the Kingdom. Let this conference, then, O, Latter-day Saints, be remembered for teaching, first of all, reverence henceforth in Israel for the name of Diety; and as collateral parts of that same doctrine--honor for parents; and profound respect for the priesthood of God. - B. H. Roberts, “Conference Report,” October 1901, Overflow Meeting, p.60
All through the scriptures the loftier expectation is expressed by the Lord and His apostles: Believe, repent, obey the ordinances, walk in the light of the Spirit, endure in faith--yes! But also, manifest your discipleship in civility, in gentility and tender compassion, in kindness and consideration, in patience and forbearance and refusal to condemn, in forgiveness and mercy. - Marion D. Hanks, “More Joy and Rejoicing,” Ensign (CR), November 1976, p.31
Does it frighten you to speak with your Heavenly Father? It shouldn't. It's true that he is powerful, more than any of us can even understand. But he also loves us--much more than we can ever know. He knows all about you, knows all of your secrets, all the things you are afraid of, and even more--he knows what you are capable of doing. He knows you even better than you know yourself. He wants what is best for you, and he wants you to be successful and happy in your life. In order for him to help you, he wants you to talk with him often in reverent, humble prayer. - J. Thomas Fyans, “Draw Near to Him in Prayer,” Ensign (CR) October 1985