If Ye Be Willing and Obedient

For week fourteen of The General Conference Odyssey, we are writing about one of the talks from the Sunday afternoon session of the October 1971 General Conference of the LDS Church.

Gordon B. Hinckley of the Quorum of the Twelve gave a talk in which he discussed our role in the gospel of Jesus Christ. He recalls hearing President Heber J. Grant tell of his experience in reading the Book of Mormon when he was a boy.

"He spoke of Nephi and of the great influence he had upon his life. And then, with a voice ringing with a conviction...he quoted those great words of Nephi: “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” (1 Ne. 3:7.)"

There came into [his] young heart on that occasion a resolution to try to do what the Lord has commanded.

Obeying the will of the Lord is not always easy. It may not only be a difficult thing, but it may in fact seem impossible to accomplish what he is asking of us. The experience of Moses was a classic example of this, when the Lord called him to lead Israel out of Egypt:

“And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent … but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.”

“And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? …

“Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” (Ex. 4:10–12.)

As Elder Hinckley pointed out, sometimes it is only through the practice of obedience and the resulting experiences, that one can develop some of those admirable qualities that we love in an individual.

Sometimes, or even oftentimes, the thing the Lord asks us to do does not seem at all special or glorious. It can even be something that we are repelled by. How much more difficult it is to obey when it is something that we would rather not do!

The ideas of duty and obedience are not very popular ones in the modern world. Loyalty to one's own self is emphasized, while anything that may keep one from the full enjoyment of life is treated as an undesirable anchor that should quickly be abandoned in order to be free. May we anchor ourselves firmly in the gospel as we uphold our duty and serve in obedience to the Lord.


For more posts on the Sunday Afternoon Session of the October 1971 General Conference, please see below:
Go and Do by Michelle Linford
On the Inevitability of Worship by Nathaniel Givens

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