Doing the Will of the Lord

This week we are writing abut the October 1972 Saturday Afternoon Session. This was one of my favorite sessions in a while. There were a lot of talks that I really enjoyed and I really recommend this whole session to you.Though I am not writing about it, I particularly recommend President Boyd K. Packer’s talk about home teaching. It is the single best talk on this subject that I’ve read.

My favorite talk of the session was one titled “Thy Will Be Done, O Lord” by Franklin D. Richards. Elder Richards started by discussing “[s]ome of the Savior’s greatest attributes and most profound teachings” that were “found in the incidents immediately preceding his crucifixion.” In particular, he turned to the savior’s pleading in the garden of Gethsemane, “let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

Elder Richards explained that “Christ’s ability to apply this great principle in his life made it possible for him to become perfect.” And likewise, we need to apply this principle to “move towads perfection and true happiness.”

It is very difficult to say “thy will be done, o Lord” and really mean it. “This doctrine or philosophy requires one to deeply love the Lord and have great faith in his judgment.”

Elder Richards spoke of the conversion experience and this part of the talk really resonated with me:

Some of you are converts to the Church. Did you find it difficult to accept baptism when you felt it would mean being estranged from your family or friends, losing the security of your social position, maybe even losing your job or employment?

But in your heart you knew it was the will of God that you should accept him and become a member of his church, because the Holy Ghost had borne this witness to you.

When you had the will to say “Not my will, but thy will be done,” placing your trust in God, and by your acceptance of baptism, showing your faith and humility, didn’t you find that you had just opened the way for God to give you greater blessings than you had ever known before?

This was very true for me in my experience. The reason that I was able to join the church, serve a mission, and do so many other things in the Church is that I KNOW that I am doing the will of the Lord. Knowing that it is his will makes it much easier to do very difficult things.

And I also found that when I served God and put my faith in him, I received far greater blessings than ever before. Indeed, I am still receiving those blessings. Every good thing I have in my life now came from that choice to follow the will of the Lord. It was the best decision I ever made.

Elder Richards speaks of how he was offered an appointment to the United States Naval Academy, but declined it to serve a mission. He exclaimed that he would “be eternally grateful for the call [he] received” because “[t]he pattern I set in the mission field has been a guide to me throughout my life.” I am likewise so grateful that I followed the Lord’s will and served. My character and conviction was indelibly shaped by my experience.

As Elder Richard’s declared, “the strength and vitality of the Church is due, to a large extent, to the willingness of its members to live the principle, ‘Thy will be done, not mine.'” Likewise, the strength and vitality of my faith has come through making a multitude of decisions to follow God’s will.

This isn’t always easy. Elder Richard’s notes that it “is oft times most difficult.” In particular, he pointed to the death of a loved one. “The loss of loved ones is a difficult experience that builds great faith, courage, and humility, and we must all expect such experiences.” Having recently lost my father, this part of his talk again really resonated with me .”God has given us a promise that though a loved one may die, yet he or she shall live again, through the atonement and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” I have a conviction that these words are true.

We all need to examine ourselves to see if we are living in line with the will of God. Because the “greatest evidenceo f righteousness” is our willingness “to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer without any qualifications” and this depends on being willing “to live the doctrine.”

This talk really helped me recommit to following the will of the Lord and gave me a renewed appreciation for all of the blessings I’ve received for following the will of God.

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