Feb 2, 2014

Come, Join with Us!

Come, Join with Us
by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
I love President Uchtdorf's opening story about the man who dreams he's in a large hall where all the religions of the world are represented.  He realizes that each religion "has much that seems desirable and worthy."  He then meets a couple representing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and asks them, "What do you require of your members?"  To which they respond, "We do not require anything, but the Lord asks that we consecrate all." 

The couple goes on to explain Church callings, home and visiting teaching, full-time missions, weekly family home evenings, temple work, welfare and humanitarian service, and assignments to teach.

“Do you pay your people for all the work they do?” the man asked.
“Oh, no,” the couple explained. “They offer their time freely.”
Also,” the couple continued, “every six months our Church members spend a weekend attending or watching 10 hours of general conference.”

“Ten hours of people giving talks?” the man wondered.

“What about your weekly church services? How long are they?”
“Three hours, every Sunday!”

“Oh, my,” the man said. “Do members of your church actually do what you have said?”
“That and more. We haven’t even mentioned family history, youth camps, devotionals, scripture study, leadership training, youth activities, early-morning seminary, maintaining Church buildings, and of course there is the Lord’s law of health, the monthly fast to help the poor, and tithing.”
The man said, “Now I’m confused. Why would anyone want to join such a church?”
The couple smiled and said, “We thought you would never ask.”

Why do people choose to become members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?  President Uchtdorf then gives few reasons why:
1.  This is the Savior's Church-
"This church was restored in our day by Jesus Christ Himself.  Here you will find the authority to act in His name" through the gift of the priesthood.
2.  Opportunity-
"The Church provides opportunities for doing good . . . to transform. . .talents, compassion, and time into good works.  Believing in God is commendable, but most people want to do more than listen to inspirational sermons or dream of their mansions above.  They want to put their faith into practice.  They want to roll up their sleeves and become engaged in this great cause." 
3.  Blessings-
Our daily walk with Jesus Christ leads to peace and purpose in this life and profound joy and eternal salvation in the world to come.  Those who follow this path faithfully avoid many of the pitfalls, sorrows, and regrets of life."
What was your reason?  Why did you choose to be baptized into the Church?
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"There is yet a place for you."
Even if you have doubts. 
"It's natural to have questions. . .There are few members of the Church who, at one time or another, have not wrestled with serious or sensitive questions.  One of the purposes of the Church is to nurture and cultivate the seed of faith - even in the sometimes sandy soil of doubt and uncertainty. . .Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters -my dear friends- please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.  We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ."
You feel like you just don't fit in.
"If you could see into [the] heart, you would probably find that you fit in better than you suppose.  You might be surprised to find that we have yearnings and struggles and hopes similar to yours.  Your background or upbringing might seem different from what you perceive in many Latter-day Saints, but that could be a blessing. . .We need your unique talents and perspectives. The diversity of persons and people all around the globe is a strength of this Church."
Don't think you can live up to the standards of the Church?
"All the more reason to come!  The Church is designed to nourish the imperfect, the struggling, and the exhausted.  It is filled with people who desire with all their heart to keep the commandments, even if they haven't mastered them yet."
Maybe you know a member of the Church who is a hypocritical.  Why would you want to join a church with someone like that as a member?
"We are all hypocrites.  None of us is quite as Christlike as we know we should be.  But we earnestly desire to overcome our faults and the tendency to sin.  With our heart and soul we yearn to become better with the help of the Atonement of Jesus Christ."
"If you seek truth, meaning, and a way to transform faith into action, if you are looking for a place of belonging:  Come, join with us!
"If you have left the faith you once embraced:  Come back again.  Join with us! "
"If you are tempted to give up:  Stay yet a little longer.  There is room for you here."
"If these are your desires, then regardless of your circumstances, your personal history, or the strength of your testimony, there is room for you in this Church.  Come, join with us!" 
Next Week's Talk:
by Elder D. Todd Christofferson