general primary President Susan H. Porter invited listeners to imagine themselves walking the path to “eternal life,” during a devotional at Brigham Young University on Tuesday, November 1.
On this path, they plod along, sometimes stumbling, looking at their feet. They are weighed down with heavy backpacks labeled “things to do,” filled with lists of things they try to do for school, work, and to be good members of the Church.
“Now imagine what changes when you decide to look up,” President Porter said. Suddenly, those on the journey can see the beauty around them, feel the warmth of the sun, and remember that the Savior provided gifts for the journey: faith, repentance, hope, His Spirit, and more. .
“Now, instead of just trying to put one foot in front of the other as you try to do your duty, you focus on the Savior. How can you receive his gifts, his knowledge, and his love?
Prayer, scripture study, and searching for the words of the prophets are no longer items on a to-do list. “Instead, they’ve become your lifeline to get the gifts you need,” she said.
Speaking to students and faculty gathered at the Marriott Center on the Provo, Utah campus and listening to them virtually, President Porter said, “My message today is that the gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of joy because our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ invite us to receive them and their infinitely valuable gifts.
President Porter explained that receiving the gifts of God is a fundamental part of becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. “When we receive God’s gifts, we receive a part of him—his spirit, his wisdom, and his knowledge. And, like Alma, Enos, and Abish, when we receive gifts from God, we are filled with the desire to share those gifts with others.
At the invitation of President Porter, Rachael Anderton, a graduate student in vocal performance, then sang “More Holiness Give Me,” which lists some of the many gifts offered by the Lord: holiness, inner effort, patience, sorrow of sin, faith. , sense of his care, joy in his service, purpose in prayer, gratitude, trust in the Lord, pride in his glory, hope in his word, tears for his grief, pain at his grief, gentleness, purity, strength, freedom , “more, Savior, like you.”
“How can we receive these gifts? asked President Porter. President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, taught: “The commandments and covenants He offers you are not tests to control you. They are a gift to lift you up to receive all the gifts of God” (“Legacy of Encouragement“, October 2022 general conference).
President Porter, who earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry at BYU, explained that a fluorine atom is unstable because it is missing an electron. It becomes more stable and complete as it bonds and shares an electron with cesium, becoming cesium fluoride.
“Likewise, as we see our lack and draw closer to the Savior, He shares His gifts with us, making us more whole, stable, and whole,” she said.
President Porter then spoke of three ways individuals can more fully receive the gifts of God.
1. Choose humility
This time of life is busy, with a lot of pressure, noted President Porter. “You might also feel spiritually stressed.” However, seeing one’s weakness is not a reason to be discouraged; it is a reason to be humble.
“Humility opens the way for us to receive the gifts of our Heavenly Father through the enabling power of His Son, Jesus Christ,” said President Porter.
The Savior said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, I will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).
The Savior waits at the door of his heart but will not overrule agency. “Softening our hearts invites him in.”
President Porter shared a video of Carl B. Cook of the Presidency of the Seventy, who recalled how overwhelmed he felt as a new General Authority Seventy. As he entered an elevator in the Church Administration Building, he wondered, “How can I do this? and stared at the ground.
A joyful voice, which turned out to be that of President Thomas S. Monson, reminded him, “You better look up!
“What happens when we admire our Heavenly Father and His Son? asked President Porter. “If we are too busy doing, we may forget to look up and lose our focus on the Giver of all heavenly gifts.”
Instead of listing general conference invitations, President Porter invited students to consider focusing on all the gifts they have been invited to receive from a loving Heavenly Father. In his own study of President Russell M. Nelson‘hunt down “Conquer the world and find restPresident Porter said she found more than 20 specific gifts that individuals can receive.
“As we focus on receiving the gifts of the Savior, we will feel joy and purpose as we seek to understand the changes we need to make and then take action,” she said.
3. Receive Deeply
President Porter noted that sometimes the gifts of God come gently in small increments, but every impression or whisper of the Spirit is a gift. “Through these gifts, we know that God is aware of us, needs us, and walks with us. These impressions can be the most healing and encouraging of all gifts.
Six years ago, on the day of her husband’s funeral, Bruce D Porter, one of their sons reported water leaking through a sliding glass door in his home. Eventually, she consulted a contractor and discovered that there was water damage halfway down the back of the house. “How could I go ahead with all that needed to be done, I asked myself, while I was still struggling to simply follow the movements of everyday life?” recalls President Porter.
One day, the contractor gave him a list of four items to buy from a home improvement store to help with repairs. Arriving at the store that evening, she discovered that there were a lot of choices and she didn’t know which one to choose. She tried to find an employee but failed. After half an hour of fruitless searching, she was on the verge of tears, President Porter said.
She prayed for help and a minute later a friendly and knowledgeable employee approached her and helped her complete her shopping in 10 minutes.
“After Bruce passed away, I received many gifts. But nothing is more invaluable than the knowledge I received on a dark Friday night, in a deserted aisle at Lowe’s. There I received a testimony from my soul that God was with me and would be with me in the days and years to come,” President Porter said.
The greatest blessing of seeking to receive the Savior, His gospel, and His gifts is that as individuals receive Him, He will receive them.. “Through His great atoning sacrifice, the Savior broke the bands of death and opened the door for all of us to return to live with God our Father,” said President Porter.
As the Savior said to the Nephites after His resurrection, “Behold, my arm of mercy is stretched out unto you, and whoever shall come, him will I receive” (3 Nephi 9:14).
In closing, President Porter said, “May you lift up your eyes and seek to receive the gifts you need. I testify that if we seek to receive Heavenly Father, His Son, and their gifts, there will be ‘not enough room to receive [them]'” (Malachi 3:10).