Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • 00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:06,880 The Book of Mormon prophet Enos, Lehi's grandson,

  • wrote of a singular experience that

  • happened earlier in his life.

  • While hunting alone in the forest,

  • Enos began pondering on the teachings of his father, Jacob.

  • He related, "The words which I had often heard my father

  • speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints,

  • sunk deep into my heart."

  • In the spiritual hunger of his soul,

  • Enos knelt in prayer, a remarkable prayer that

  • lasted through the day and into the night, a prayer that

  • brought him crucial revelations, assurances, and promises.

  • There is much to be learned from Enos's experience,

  • but today what stands out in my mind

  • is Enos's memory of his father speaking often

  • of "the joy of the saints."

  • In this conference three years ago, President Russell M.

  • Nelson spoke of joy.

  • Among other things, he said:

  • "The joy we feel has little to do

  • with the circumstances of our lives and everything

  • to do with the focus of our lives.

  • "When the focus of our lives is on God's plan of salvation ...

  • and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless

  • of what is happening--or not happening--in our lives.

  • Joy comes from and because of Him. ...

  • For Latter-day Saints, Jesus Christ is joy!"

  • 00:01:43,210 --> 00:01:46,300 Saints are those who have entered into the gospel

  • covenant through baptism and are striving to follow

  • Christ as His disciples.

  • Thus, "the joy of the saints" denotes

  • the joy of becoming Christlike.

  • I would like to speak of the joy that

  • comes from keeping His commandments,

  • the joy that arises from overcoming sorrow

  • and weakness through Him, and the joy inherent in serving

  • as He served.

  • The joy of keeping Christ's commandments.

  • We live in a hedonistic age, when many

  • question the importance of the Lord's commandments

  • or simply ignore them.

  • Not infrequently, people who flout

  • divine directives such as the law of chastity,

  • the standard of honesty, the holiness of the Sabbath

  • seem to prosper and enjoy the good things of life, at times

  • even more so than those who are striving to be obedient.

  • Some begin to wonder if the effort and sacrifices are

  • worth it.

  • The ancient people of Israel once complained:

  • "It is vain to serve God: and what profit

  • is it that we have kept his ordinance,

  • and that we have walked mournfully

  • before the Lord of hosts?

  • "And now we call the proud happy;

  • yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they

  • that tempt God are even delivered."

  • Just wait, said the Lord, until "that day

  • when I make up my jewels."

  • "Then shall ye ... discern between the righteous

  • and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that

  • serveth him not."

  • The wicked may "have joy in their works for a season,"

  • but it is always temporary.

  • The joy of the Saints is enduring.

  • God sees things in their true perspective,

  • and He shares that perspective with us

  • through His commandments, effectively guiding us

  • around the pitfalls and potholes of mortality

  • toward eternal joy.

  • The Prophet Joseph Smith explained:

  • "When His commandments teach us it is in view of eternity;

  • for we are looked upon by God as though we were in eternity.

  • God dwells in eternity and does not view things as we do."

  • I haven't met anyone who found the gospel later in life

  • that didn't wish it could have been earlier.

  • "Oh, the poor choices, the mistakes I could have avoided,"

  • they will say.

  • The Lord's commandments are our guide

  • to better choices and happier outcomes.

  • How we ought to rejoice and thank Him

  • for showing us this more excellent way.

  • As a teenager, Sister Kalombo Rosette Kamwanya

  • from the DR Congo, now serving in the Cote d'Ivoire Abidjan

  • West Mission, fasted and prayed for three days

  • to find the direction God wanted her to take.

  • In a remarkable night vision, she

  • was shown two buildings, a chapel

  • and what she now realizes was a temple.

  • She began to search and soon found the chapel

  • she had seen in her dream.

  • The sign said, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day

  • Saints."

  • Sister Kamwanya was baptized and then her mother and her six

  • brothers.

  • Sister Kamwanya said, "When I received the gospel,

  • I felt like a captured bird that had been liberated.

  • My heart was filled with joy. ...

  • I had the assurance that God loves me."

  • Keeping the Lord's commandments enables us

  • more fully and more easily to feel His love.

  • The strait and narrow path of the commandments

  • leads directly to the tree of life.

  • And the tree and its fruit, the sweetest and "most desirable

  • above all things," are a representation

  • of the love of God and fill the soul

  • "with exceedingly great joy."

  • 00:05:43,080 --> 00:05:45,979 SAID THE SAVIOR: "If ye keep my commandments,

  • ye shall abide in my love; even as I

  • have kept my Father's commandments,

  • and abide in his love.

  • "These things have I spoken unto you,

  • that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy

  • might be full."

  • Second, the joy of overcoming through Christ.

  • Even when we are found faithfully

  • keeping the commandments, there are trials and tragedies

  • that could interrupt our joy.

  • But as we strive to overcome these challenges

  • with the Savior's help, it preserves

  • both the joy we feel now and the joy we anticipate.

  • Christ reassured His disciples, "In the world

  • ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer;

  • I have overcome the world."

  • It is in turning to Him, obeying Him, binding ourselves to Him

  • that trial and sorrow are turned to joy.

  • I mention one example.

  • In 1989, Jack Rushton was serving

  • as president of the Irvine California Stake,

  • in the United States.

  • During a family vacation on the California coast,

  • Jack was bodysurfing when a wave swept him

  • into a submerged rock, breaking his neck

  • and severely injuring his spinal cord.

  • Jack said later, "The instant I hit, I knew I was paralyzed."

  • He could no longer talk or even breathe on his own.

  • Family, friends, and stake members

  • rallied around Brother Rushton and his wife, Jo Anne,

  • and, among other things, remodeled

  • a section of their home to accommodate Jack's wheelchair.

  • Jo Anne became Jack's principal caregiver

  • for the next 23 years.

  • Referring to Book of Mormon accounts of how

  • the Lord visited his people in their afflictions

  • and made their burdens light, Jo Anne said,

  • "I am often amazed at the lightness of heart I

  • feel in caring for my husband."

  • An alteration to his respiration system

  • restored Jack's ability to speak, and within the year

  • Jack was called as Gospel Doctrine teacher and stake

  • patriarch.

  • When he would give a patriarchal blessing,

  • another priesthood holder placed Brother Rushton's hand

  • on the head of the person receiving the blessing

  • and supported his hand and arm during the blessing.

  • Jack passed away on Christmas Day 2012,

  • after 22 years of devoted service.

  • Once in an interview, Jack observed:

  • "Problems will come into all ... our lives;

  • it's [just] part of ... being here ... on this earth.

  • And some people think that religion or having faith in God

  • will protect you from bad things.

  • I don't think that's the point.

  • I think the point is that if our faith is strong,

  • that when bad things happen, which they will,

  • we'll be able to deal with them.

  • ...

  • My faith never wavered, but that didn't mean

  • that I didn't have depressions.

  • I think for the first time in my life,

  • I was pushed to the limit, and literally

  • there was nowhere to turn, and so I turned to the Lord,

  • and to this day, I feel a spontaneity of joy."

  • This is a day of sometimes merciless attacks

  • in social media and in person against those

  • who seek to uphold the Lord's standard in dress,

  • entertainment, and sexual purity.

  • It is often the youth and young adults among the Saints,

  • as well as women and mothers, who

  • bear this cross of mocking and persecution.

  • It is not easy to rise above such abuse,

  • but remember the words of Peter: "If ye

  • be reproached for the name of Christ,

  • happy are ye; for the spirit of glory

  • and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil

  • spoken of, but on your part he is glorified."

  • In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve

  • were "in a state of innocence, having no joy,

  • for they knew no misery."

  • Now, as accountable beings, we find joy

  • in overcoming misery in whatever form,

  • whether it be sin, trial, weakness, or any other obstacle

  • to happiness.

  • This is the joy of sensing progress in the path

  • of discipleship; the joy of "having received a remission

  • of ... sins, and having peace of conscience";

  • the joy of feeling one's soul expand and grow through

  • the grace of Christ.

  • Finally, the joy of serving as Christ.

  • The Savior finds joy in bringing to pass our immortality

  • and eternal life.

  • In speaking of the Savior's Atonement,

  • President Russell M. Nelson said:

  • "As in all things, Jesus Christ is our ultimate exemplar,

  • 'who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.'

  • Think of that!

  • In order for Him to endure the most excruciating experience

  • ever endured on earth, our Savior focused on joy!

  • "And what was the joy that was set before Him?

  • Surely it included the joy of cleansing [and] healing ...

  • and strengthening us; the joy of paying for the sins of all who

  • would repent; the joy of making it possible for you and me

  • to return home--clean and worthy--to live with

  • our Heavenly Parents and families."

  • 00:11:36,590 --> 00:11:38,990 Similarly, the joy "set before us"

  • is the joy of assisting the Savior

  • in His work of redemption.

  • As the seed and children of Abraham,

  • we participate in blessing all the families

  • of the earth "with the blessings of the Gospel, which

  • are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal."

  • 00:11:59,490 --> 00:12:03,200 THE WORDS OF ALMA COME TO MIND: "This is my glory, that perhaps

  • I may be an instrument in the hands of God

  • to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.

  • "And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent,

  • and coming to the Lord their God,

  • then is my soul filled with joy. ...

  • "But I do not joy in my own success alone,

  • but my joy is more full because of the success of my brethren,

  • who have been up to the land of Nephi. ...

  • "Now, when I think of the success of these my brethren

  • my soul is carried away, even to the separation of it

  • from the body, as it were, so great is my joy."

  • The fruits of our service to one another in the Church

  • are part of the joy "set before us."

  • Even in times of discouragement or stress,

  • we can minister patiently if we are focused

  • on the joy of pleasing God and bringing light, relief,

  • and happiness to His children, our brothers and sisters.

  • When in Haiti last month for the dedication

  • of the Port-au-Prince temple, Elder David and Sister Susan

  • Bednar met with a young sister whose husband

  • had been killed a few days earlier in a tragic accident.

  • They wept together with her.

  • Yet on Sunday, this dear woman was