Of one faith, one testimony

To help evaluate the effectiveness of their teams, coaches look at a variety of statistics and individual performances.

When overall team performance starts to wear down, coaches go back to individual players and stress certain "fundamentals" peculiar to each sport. By showing a player how he or she fits into the larger game plan, coaches hope that players will realize that their effort - no matter how trivial it may seem - can determine a lot about how the team will fare collectively.This same analogy works with the gospel. By emphasizing individual "fundamentals," members can contribute to the overall mission of the Church. And the Church grows and succeeds in accomplishing its three-fold mission. As individuals work through their own salvation by performing missionary service, assisting other Church members and participating in temple service, the cause of Zion is advanced.

President Spencer W. Kimball declared, "Our success, individually and as a Church, will largely be determined by how faithfully we focus on living the gospel in the home. Only as we see clearly the responsibilities of each individual and the role of families and homes can we properly understand that priesthood quorums and auxiliary organization, even wards and stakes, exist primarily to help members live the gospel." (April 1978 regional representative seminar.)

Similar counsel was emphasized at this month's conference. President Gordon B. Hinckley challenged Latter-day Saints to banish any elements of self-righteousness and to live the golden rule. He also urged members to keep the Sabbath Day holy, observe the Word of Wisdom and pay tithing.

"I see a wonderful future in a very uncertain world," he declared in his closing remarks at the Sunday afternoon session. "If we will cling to our values, if we will build on our inheritance, if we will walk in obedience before the Lord, if we will simply live the gospel we will be blessed in a magnificent and wonderful way."

Each individual Church member faces different challenges, but many of those challenges can be met by following the counsel of our leaders and obeying the fundamentals of the gospel. These include prayer and meditation, fasting and testimony bearing, observing the Sabbath by attending our meetings and partaking of the sacrament, searching the scriptures daily and participating in family history research and temple ordinances to help redeem our dead.

Each of these fundamentals helps strengthen us and move us closer to our Father in Heaven and His Son. By doing these things we follow the advice of Alma who challenged us: "And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive." (Alma 7:23.)

These attributes contribute to our well-being and at the same time strengthen the whole Church. We are, indeed, a part of a larger organization. The Apostle Paul reminded us: "For the body is not one member but many." (1 Cor. 12:27.) "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And whether one member suffer, all members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it." (1 Cor. 12:26.)

We have responsibilities for ourselves and for those around us. Our goal should be to live the fundamentals so fully that they become second nature to us. By doing that, our primary focus can be on serving others and reaching out to those who may not be hearing the voices of warning.

President John Taylor remarked, "Our mission has principally been to preach the first principles of the gospel, calling upon men everywhere to believe in the Lord God of heaven . . . His Son, Jesus Christ, repenting of their sins to be baptized . . . and then we have promised them the Holy Ghost. In doing this, the Lord has stood by us, sustaining those principles that we have advanced and when we have ministered unto men the ordinances of this gospel, they have received for themselves the witness of the Spirit, even the Holy Ghost. . . ." (At Ephraim, Utah, Aug. 20, 1882.)

In this way, we move ourselves, and eventually, the whole Church forward.

As President Hinckley closed this last conference, he declared: "God help us to move forward to become a great and mighty people spread over the earth, counted in the millions, but all of one faith and of one testimony and of one conviction. . . ."

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