(find the talk here)
Elder Neil A. Anderson’s talk made me think hard about my own devotion to the Savior, and about what I am doing to make sure that I never leave Him.
Elder Anderson talks about the disciples who left the Savior after following Him, because they couldn’t believe that He was the Son of God. The Savior then turned to His Apostles and asked if they were also going to leave Him. “In my own mind I have answered that question many times: ‘Absolutely not! Not me! I will never leave Him! I am here forever!’ I know you have answered the same way.
Elder Anderson hit the nail right on the head – I, too, would answer that question with “Never!” But I wonder how many people have answered the same way, later to leave the path? “Some we love and admire slip from the strait and narrow path and ‘[walk] no more with him.’” My brother and sister-in-law would be in this category for me. I love and admire them, and I was certain they would never leave Him – and yet, they did. I cannot make any judgments about why they left Him, but I can definitely renew my commitment to strengthen my own resolve to never leave Him.
Which leaves us with the question, “How do we develop the faith and strength to never leave Him?”
Elder Anderson speaks of becoming as a little child. For the Savior said, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Why as a child? Because of these two words: “offended and ashamed.”
Offense comes in many costumes and continually finds its way onstage. People we believe in disappoint us. We have unanticipated difficulties. Our life doesn’t turn out exactly the way we were expecting. We make mistakes, feel unworthy, and worry about being forgiven. We wonder about a doctrinal issue. We learn of something spoken from a Church pulpit 150 years ago that bothers us. Our children are treated unfairly. We are ignored or underappreciated. It could be a hundred things, each very real to us at the time.
Again, Elder Anderson gets it just right. I can’ t tell you how many of those things have happened to me. Why didn’t I leave the Savior (or the Church) when those things happened? Why didn’t I get offended? Because I heeded the Lord’s advice to Parley P. Pratt when He said, “walk such things under your feet ... [and] God Almighty shall be with you.”
The second part Elder Anderson talked about was shame – being ashamed. “There may be times we feel uncomfortable as the fingers of score mock and dismiss what is sacred to us. President Thomas S. Monson warned, ‘Unless the roots of your testimony are firmly planted, it will be difficult for you to withstand the ridicule of those who challenge your faith.’”
One of my favorite scripture masteries from high school Seminary was Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth...”
Will we understand everything? Of course not. We will put some issues on the shelf to be understood at a later time.
Will everything be fair? It will not. We will accept some things we cannot fix and forgive others when it hurts.
Will we feel separated on occasion from those around us? Absolutely.
will we be astonished at time to see the anger a few feel toward the Lord’s Church and their efforts to steal the struggling faith of the weak? Yes. But this will not deter the growth of destiny of the Church, nor need it impede the spiritual progress of each of us as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Will you never leave Him? Will you become as a child? Do you get offended and ashamed of the gospel? Of being a disciple of Jesus Christ? How do you deal with unfairness, disappointment, and feelings of separation?