27 July 2010

Looking UP and Learning from Elder Hammond

I am incredibly grateful for the technology today that allows me such a plethora of learning opportunities available with a few mouse clicks. This morning I listened to a recent BYU-I devotional given by Elder F. Melvin Hammond. The following is an excerpt from his address. I've highlighted some of the most impactful statements from Elder Hammond. To read the entire devotional, click here. Or you can download the devotional to iTunes (which I did).
We, everyone of us, must simply raise our eyes upward to the One perfect source of infinite help, the Savior, Jesus Christ, He who was lifted up upon the cross to relieve us of our pain, our suffering, and bring us all to Him (3 Nephi 27:14). “For it is by grace that we are saved,” Nephi said, and then to emphasize our own feeble nature, our complete reliance on His grace, he added the telling phrase, “after all we can do.” (2 Nephi 25: 23)

As you look UP to the Savior to heal you, here are a few things I would suggest you do:

1.Turn off your television at the least hint of sensuality. Don’t just close your eyes for a moment. And if there is vulgarity or profanity, don’t just plug your ears, but act decisively and turn off the TV.

2.When you date, and please date, go together with the intent of having a good time. Also, get to know each other. Discuss your plans and your aspirations. Strictly maintain the Law of Chastity. Then the time will surely come that you will experience a surge of pure love that will carry you into the Holy Temple and forever UPWARD to Eternal Life.

3.Put down your I-pod or your Blackberry and stop your continual texting. Get together and have a real conversation. There are some young people who do not feel comfortable around a real person, because they only know how to communicate with texting.

4.We live in a casual society where dress, beautiful language and cleanliness have been replaced with sloppiness, crudeness, and filthiness. I will never forget the great line from the film “My Fair Lady”, use by Professor Higgins to describe the language of Eliza Doolittle; said he, “she should be taken out and hung for the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue.” (1964 Film directed by George Cukor and starring Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn) Will you please remember that the old adage “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” does not just apply to morality, but to everything that related to mortality as well (hair, face, body, clothes, apartment, etc.).

5.Remember, remember that when you consider life with all its pitfalls, heartaches, setbacks, confusions and calamities you will still remain firm and resolute in your efforts to be courageous and true. I know it seems so difficult at times, but lift up your head. Keep your physical and your spiritual eyes open. Stay awake. LOOK UP, MOVE FORWARD and see how easy it is to find the healing balm of Jesus Christ.

6.The Lord condemned the people for being ‘stiff necked.’ There must be a correlation between bowing our heads in prayer and being so proud that we neglect to call on the Lord. We should pray with all the fervor of our souls. In the scriptures, Enos wrestled “before God” before he received an answer to his prayer (Enos 1:2). And Alma “labored much in spirit, wrestling with God in mighty prayer,” but the proud people of the great city of Ammonihah would not repent and humble themselves before God (Alma 8:10). You must never refuse to bow your head and pray!
The story is told that on one occasion the Prophet Joseph Smith saw in a vision at least nine of the Twelve Apostles in a foreign land.
He saw them gathered in a circle, without shoes, beaten, tattered, discouraged. Standing above them in the air was the Lord Jesus Christ. And it was made known to the Prophet that Christ yearned to show himself to them, to reach down and lift them. But they did not see him.” (Truman Madsen, The Highest in Us, Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, Inc., 1978, p. 85)
The Prophet could never speak of this vision without weeping for the awful tragedy of those that he loved so much being in such a terrible condition, and only have to look up to see the Lord to receive his tender mercies. But they would not! I believe that it is easy to LOOK UP to the Savior. As you do, you will see Him standing with His arms out-stretched trying to help you with all of your earthly challenges. He wants you to be happy whatever your situation in life!

-- Elder F. Melvin Hammond, "Move Forward and Look Up," Brigham Young University-Idaho devotional, 6 July 2010 (emphasis added).

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