Sunday, August 8, 2010

I See... Enduring to Eternity

The Mormon Third Eye “saw” this thought resting on top of an Arizona butte watching one of God's sunsets unfold before him. “All things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me.” (Moses 6:63).

Although my testimony is just as strong as the next middle-aged Mormon man, until this sunset I was puzzled by a seemingly contradictory commandment- How do we “endure to the end” to receive eternal life (D&C 14:7), when we are taught that our souls are immortal? How can one endure to the end something that has no end? Thinking about that too long may make your head ache.

Then I realized I had the “endure” part all wrong, and now I think I have it right. I'm relieved that at least two apostles, Elder Wirthlin and Elder Uchtdorf (according to an lds.org search on “enduring to the end”) agree with me. Enduring to the end, which is basically nothing more than keeping commandments and commitments after we have completed all the saving ordinances, is supposed to be an uplifting experience. Per Elder Uchtdorf, it involves “making wise choices, including paying our tithes and offerings, honoring our temple covenants, and serving the Lord and one another willingly and faithfully in our Church callings and responsibilities. It means strength of character, selflessness, and humility; it means integrity and honesty to the Lord and our fellowmen. It means making our homes strong places of defense and a refuge against worldly evils; it means loving and honoring our spouses and children.” (October 2007) All this can bring us happiness in this life and the next.

However, the cornerstone of the “enduring” principle is another promise from Elder Uchtdorf in the same address: “By doing our best to endure to the end, a beautiful refinement will come into our lives. We will learn to “do good to them that hate [us], and pray for them which despitefully use [us] (Matthew 5:44).”

This “beautiful refinement” allows us to even love those close to us who make decisions that disappoint or even offend us. This is how our Heavenly Father and his only begotten son, the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, loves all of His children, even those who have turned their backs on Him. He enjoys endless joy loving His children this way for eternity.

If that is the direction I'm going, I guess I can hang on another buzillion years.

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