Asia Area Leader Message
Elder Robert K. William Of the Seventy
The First law of heaven as we know it is obedience. Father Abraham, who was the very reason of the promised blessings and covenants we all enjoy, gained it through his implicit obedience. There are other wonderful examples in the scriptures as we think of obedience. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord because he was a just and a perfect man and he walked with God.1 When the Lord commanded him he did all according to his commandment and showed forth obedience.2 Samuel teaches a powerful lesson to Saul and said “It is better to Obey than to Sacrifice.”3 The price that Saul had to pay for not being completely obedient was to be rejected from being a King of Israel. He feared his people more and obeyed their voice.
Unlike Saul there are many wonderful examples of obedience that we see in the Book of Mormon. Nephi proclaimed “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded.”4 In one of his toughest tests he did obey the voice of the spirit and slayed Laban. Because of that act of obedience the children of men from that time were able to have the word of God and were able to have faith and belief. “It [was] better for one man to perish than for a whole nation to dwindle in unbelief.” 5
Obedience brings blessings. Our Latter-day revelation teaches us that when we obey a law, the promised blessings associated with that law will come to pass.6 By being obedient we can bind the Lord7 and see him and know that He lives.8 He will nourish us, strengthen us and provide means for us to accomplish the things that He has commanded us. 9
In talking to the new mission presidents at the 2015 seminar Elder Russell M Nelson said “Obedience allows them to receive guidance and direction from the Spirit. A mission at its best is an exercise in obedience training. And exact obedience brings miracles.”
The other aspect that I want to address here is the principle of repentance. Our Heavenly Father through His great plan of happiness has provided a way for us to overcome sin and death. He provided a Savior for us so that we can be washed clean from our sins and enter His presence. This wonderful gift of Atonement is available to all mankind on condition of repentance. Repentance requires us to turn away from sin and return to God. It requires us to feel remorse. It requires restitution. More than all it requires us to feel “Godly sorrow.” 10
The Savior taught that the heavens will rejoice over one sinner that repenteth.11 How great is the joy of God in the soul that repenteth. When we sincerely repent and confess our sins and forsake them, we will be forgiven and the Lord will remember them no more .12 The powerful teaching of King Benjamin caused his people to proclaim “Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually”. 13 Sincere repentance leads to conversion, it helps us to embrace good and shun evil.
Bishop Waddell said “There is a pattern that the Lord has established. He has given us patterns, and the order of those patterns is significant. It is significant that repentance is the second step in that pattern and the first step is faith in Jesus Christ and in His Atonement.”14 We cannot teach the principle of repentance save we first teach about Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement. As our understanding of the Atonement increases, the desire to repent and take full advantage of that marvelous act will multiply.
To all those who are embroiled in sin and have lost hope in life, I want to testify to you that there is hope in and through the Holy Messiah and through His sacred atonement. If we sincerely repent and forsake our sins and turn to God with all our heart, might, mind and strength, the Atonement will take its full effect and we will be cleansed from all our sins and the Lord will remember them no more. Because He loves us more than we can imagine and He has paid the price for you and me.
As we live an obedient and repentant life, our journey towards our heavenly home will become undeviating. We will learn of HIS ways and receive the promised blessings. Our understanding of these heavenly principles will increase and we will become better and better each day.
Jesus is the Christ. He lives. We are the offspring of our Eternal Father. We have the potential to become like Him. If we turn to Him and seek His help, He will extend His arm to us. In fact, His arm is extended to all people who will repent and believe on His name.15 I testify of these truths in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. ■
Caption: Elder Robert K. William
1 See Genesis 6:8-9.
2 See Genesis 6:22.
3 See 1 Samuel 15:22.
4 1 Nephi 3:7.
5 1 Nephi 4:13.
6 See D&C 130:21.
7 See D&C 82:10.
8 See D&C 93:1.
9 See 1 Nephi 17:3.
10 See 2 Corinthians 7:10.
11 See Luke 15:7.
12 See D&C 58:42.
13 Mosiah 5:2.
14 Seminar for New Mission Presidents, 2016.
15 See Alma 19:36.