Jun 14, 2015

Stay By The Tree

by Elder Kevin W. Pearson

Along with reading and studying Elder Pearson's words, I also reread Lehi's vision in 1 Nephi 8.
In his dream, Lehi saw four different groups or types of people.

GROUP 1 (vs 21-23)- The people in this group want to come unto Christ.  They start out successfully towards their goal, but when the mist of darkness (hard times) comes, they wander of the path and are lost.

GROUP 2 (vs 24-28)- The people in this group have entered onto the 'straight and narrow' path.  They hold to the rod and have a testimony.  Unfortunately, the people in the great and spacious building (the world) get to them, they give in to peer pressure, and fall away.

GROUP 3 (vs 30)- This group was absolutely successful.  They held on to the rod, pressing forward continually not just when it was convenient or they felt like it.  They also ignored the mocking and pressures from the great and spacious building.

GROUP 4 (vs 31-33)- The people that fall into this group were bamboozled by the ways of the great and spacious building.  They chose to leave the path (or maybe not even attempt it at all) and to wander roads that led far far away from God.  This group also made fun of and criticized those that were partaking of the fruit.

Which group do I fall in?  I would hope Group 3, but honestly sometimes I fall into Groups 1 and 2.  Luckily, I always end up back in Group 3.

Elder Pearson says, "Two of Satan's most powerful tools are distraction and deception."  Satan wants us to listen to the mocking and taunting from the great and spacious building.  He wants us to feel like we're failing, that being 'good' is just too hard or it's nerdy and uncool.  He wants us to feel bad that we're not perfect and he and his minions whisper to us over and over again that we will never be.

Satan also tries to distract us from continuing on the straight and narrow path.  He tries to entice us by making other 'paths' appear to be better for us, or much more exciting and rewarding than the path God intended for us.

Elder Pearson's talk is all about how we can endure through Satan's constant pressuring, and what things will make us stronger, more able to withstand Satan and his minions in the great and spacious building so that we will give everything we have to staying on the straight and narrow path and partaking of the fruit of the tree.

"Enduring to the end means constantly coming unto Christ and being perfected in Him."

"Enduring to the end is a hallmark of true discipleship and is essential to eternal life.  But when trials and challenges come our way, we are often told to simply "hang in there".  Let me be clear:  to "hang in there is not a principle of the gospel.  Enduring to the end means constantly coming unto Christ and being perfected in Him."

As Elder Pearson mentioned, we cannot endure to the end with casual obedience and lukewarm commitment.  It "requires total commitment to the Savior and our covenants."

He then shares his list of six principles that will help us endure to the end:

1. Don't Forget to Pray

2. Come unto Christ and Be Perfected in Him

3. Press Forward with Faith

4.The Book of Mormon is Key to Spiritual Survival 

5. Don't be Distracted and Deceived

6. Stay by the Tree

There is all sorts of goodness in these 6 principles.  I love the quote under #4 to "Search the Book of Mormon and the words of the living prophets every day, every day, every day!"

Speaking of this, Elder Eyring said:
What stood out to you?

I also love Sister Cheryl C. Lant's talk - Hold Tight to the Iron Rod.  In it she says,
"Where am I along the path that leads to the Savior? Am I even on it? Do I have both feet firmly planted, or is one foot on and one foot off?"

Today is a great day to ask: What group am I currently in? What group do I want to be in? What do we need to do or stop doing in order to get there or stay there?