But the Spirit Did Not Fail Him (Alma 4)

In my study of the Book or Mormon, I came across a verse that had special meaning to me as a missionary.

As my last transfer drew to a close, It was naturally to look back and ask, ‘is there more I could have done? How did I do? Was I a good missionary?’

No immediate peace came with such contemplation. I knew my weaknesses and I was afraid that some of them were rather glaring. For example, it bothered me that I never got used to contacting. Everyday was like the first day. It never came naturally. I also had an excellent memory and could easily recall moments I wasn’t proud of.

These weighed on me. I kept working, I kept giving it my best effort, but in the back of my mind these things festered.

It was at some point near the end of my last transfer I read about Alma and the struggles and setbacks he experienced watching the Church under his watch studded a little bit:

And now it came to pass that Alma, having seen the afflictions of the humble followers of God, and the persecutions which were heaped upon them by the remainder of his people, and seeing all their inequality, began to be very sorrowful;nevertheless the Spirit of the Lord did not fail him. (Alma 4:15, emphasis added).

As I was invited at my last zone conference to speak, this verse came to mind while I was on my feet. I quickly realized that this was true for me. Yes, I struggled. Yes, there were challenges. Yes, I made some stupid mistakes. But I never gave up, I kept moving in the right direction. And most importantly, the Spirit did not fail me. I never felt alone, and recognized throughout my mission the Spirit teaching me and teaching others through me.

And if I had the spirit, that means I was worthy. Which was a witness to me that The Lord accepted my efforts.

Sometimes that is still hard for me to remember and focus on. I get impatient with myself, I feel like I should be further along in some categories. Other things don’t come as naturally as I hoped they would and I am painfully aware of where I come up short.

But let all that go for a moment and just focus on having the Spirit. That is the reminder of every sacrament meeting: that The Lord will grant His Spirit to the willing. If we will keep at it, His spirit will sustain our efforts
and help us yield fruit. And then at some future day we’ll peak back over our shoulder and realize just how far we’ve come.

Stand Firm and Realize the Promises

In this quote President Lorenzo Snow speaks on how understanding our gospel convenants and being true to them can overcome any disappointment or doubt and help us realize all the Father has,

“Where is there cause to mourn? Where is there cause for the Saints to wear long faces? Where is there cause for weeping or repining? There is none; but it is life or death that is set before us; principalities and powers are ours if we continue faithful; sorrow and banishment if we disregard the gospel.

“What can we wish for more than is comprehended in our religion? If we will stand firm upon the rock and will follow the Spirit that has been placed in our bosoms, we shall act right in the way of our duties, we shall act right to those who are placed over us, we shall act right whether in the light or in the dark.”

Lorenzo Snow
Teachings of the Presidents of the Church
Chapter 5: The Grand Destiny of the Faithful

Following Promptings in Serving Others

President Thomas S. Monson taught,

“In the performance of our responsibilities, I have learned that when we heed a silent prompting and act upon it without delay, our Heavenly Father will guide our footsteps and bless our lives and the lives of others. I know of no experience more sweet or feeling more precious than to heed a prompting only to discover that the Lord has answered another person’s prayer through you.”

“Peace, Be Still,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2002, 55.

Decreasing Reverence

Boyd K. Packer taught,

“For the past several years we have watched patterns of reverence and irreverence in the Church. While many are to be highly commended, we are drifting. We have reason to be deeply concerned. The world grows increasingly noisy. Clothing and grooming and conduct are looser and sloppier and more disheveled. Raucous music, with obscene lyrics blasted through amplifiers…these things are gaining wide acceptance and influence over our youth…This trend to more noise, more excitement, more contention, less restraint, less dignity, less formality is not coincidental nor innocent nor harmless. The first order issued by a commander mounting a military invasion is the jamming of the channels of communication of those he intends to conquer. Irreverence suits the purposes of the adversary by obstructing the delicate channels of revelation in both mind and spirit.”

Conference Report, Oct. 1991, pp. 26-30

The Holy Ghost and the Sign of the Dove

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught,

“The sign of the dove was instituted before the creation of the world; a witness for the Holy Ghost, and the devil cannot come in the sign of a dove. The Holy Ghost is a personage, and is in the form of a personage. It does not confine itself to the form of the dove, but in sign of the dove. The Holy Ghost cannot be transformed into a dove; but the sign of a dove was given to John to signify the truth of the deed, as the dove is an emblem or token of truth and innocence.”

The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 276

The Holy Ghost Protects

Joseph Fielding Smith said,

We have often heard of guardian angels attending us and many patriarchs have spoken of such protection. There are times no doubt when some unseen power directs us and leads us from harm. However, the true guardian angel given to every man who comes into the world is the Light of Truth or Spirit of Christ. The Holy Ghost is given to faithful members of the Church to guard and direct them; theirs is the privilege, through their faithfulness, to have such guidance and protection.

(President Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:54)

The Holy Ghost and Participation

Elder Richard G. Scott taught at a Campus Education Week Devotional at BYU,

“[The learner’s] decision to participate is an exercise in agency that permits the Holy Ghost to communicate a personalized message suited to their individual needs. Creating an atmosphere of participation enhances the probability that the Spirit will teach more important lessons than you can communicate.”

Richard G. Scott was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when this devotional address was given on 21 August 2007 during Campus Education Week.

Full Address: Speeches.byu.edu