Monday, January 10, 2011

Elder D. Todd Christofferson Counsels Students To Trust In The Lord And Take Life One Day At A Time During January 9th BYU Fireside

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was the main event at a Church Educational System (CES) fireside held at Brigham Young University in Provo on January 9th, 2010. Firesides are semi-formal gatherings where senior officials of the LDS Church deliver inspirational talks; members of the audience dress casual instead of Sunday best. A library of previous CES Firesides is available HERE. The LDS Church News and the Deseret News provide different perspectives on the event.

You can watch the entire address at the LDS website. A complete written transcript will be posted HERE in the near future.

LDS Church News focused on that part of the message where Elder Christofferson exhorted the audience to ask for and receive daily bread at God's hand. By doing so, our faith and trust in God and His Son grow. Of course, daily bread is a metaphor for daily wisdom, the point being that in order to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, we must develop an active relationship with the Father.

But another point stressed by Elder Christofferson was the need to be active in doing and providing that which is within our power. We cannot sit back and ask the Father to be a cosmic bellhop, waiting upon us hand and foot. The Lord will walk with us through tribulation, but will not airlift us out of tribulation.

The Deseret News focused more on the rest of Elder Christofferson's message, which was that although thoughtful planning and preparation are keys to a rewarding future, we do not live in the future, but in the present. Consequently, we must accept and overcome challenges one day at a time, and have faith that while we may only see disconnected parts at present, those parts will combine into a coherent portrait in the future. Elder Christofferson cited Navy SEAL training, one of the toughest military training regimens on earth, as an example. Specifically, he recounted the story of Marcus Luttrell, a U.S. Navy SEAL who wrote a book about his rigorous training and experiences.

"They endured weeks of near constant physical exertion, in and out of cold ocean water, swimming, paddling and carrying inflatable boats, running in sand, and doing hundreds of push-ups a day. They were in a near-perpetual state of exhaustion," Elder Christofferson shared from the book.

At one point, when the training group was ready to give in to the physical and demanding pressure, the senior officer told them to not give up. "Whenever you're hurting bad, just hang in there. Finish the day," Elder Christofferson quoted the officer. "Think about it long and hard before you decide to quit. Take it one day at a time. Don't start planning to bail out because you're worried about the future and how much you can take. Don't look ahead to the pain."

Finally, Elder Christofferson advised the audience to reflect on their personal lives in this season of New Year’s resolutions and quoted President N. Eldon Tanner, formerly a counselor in the First Presidency. "As we reflect on the value of resolving to do better, let us determine to discipline ourselves to carefully select the resolution we make to consider the purpose for making them, and finally to make commitments for keeping them and not letting any obstacle stop us," he said.

Elder Christofferson has also helped to make secular history. He clerked for U.S. District Judge John J. Sirica from 1972-74. You can read my previous post for the interesting details.

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