Ultimate hope: the `anchor of the soul'

Accept revelations of God

Engage in good causes

Help those who have lost


Real hope, said Elder Neal A. Maxwell, is not associated with things mercurial, but rather with things immortal and eternal.

Speaking during the Sunday morning session, Elder Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve noted that for a variety of reasons, today's society struggles in order to be hopeful.

"Life's disappointments often represent the debris of our failed, proximate hopes," he said. "Instead, however, I speak of the crucial need for ultimate hope."

Elder Maxwell explained that ultimate hope is tied to Jesus and the blessings of His great Atonement - blessings resulting in the universal resurrection and the precious opportunity provided for Church members to practice repentance, making possible what the scriptures call "a perfect brightness of hope."

Quoting Moroni 7:40-41, Elder Maxwell said, "What is it that ye shall hope for? Behold, I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ."

Elder Maxwell explained that souls can be stirred and rallied by real hope's reveille as by no other music. "Hope caused downcast disciples to go quickly and expectantly to an empty garden tomb," he said. "Hope helped the prophet to see rescuing rain in a distant cloud which appeared to be no larger than a man's hand."

Such ultimate hope constitutes the "anchor of the soul," said Elder Maxwell, "and is retained through the gift of the Holy Ghost and faith in Christ."

Elder Maxwell said it is well to ponder the statues of hope at a time when God's commandments seem unimportant to many. "Only the acceptance of the revelations of God can bring both the direction and correction needed and, in turn, a brightness of hope," he said.

Real hope, Elder Maxwell continued, keeps people engaged in good causes - even when they appear to be losing causes on the mortal scoreboard. "Real hope is much more than wishful musing. It stiffens, not slackens, the spine. Hope is serene, not giddy, eager without being naive, and pleasantly steady without being smug.

"Hope is realistic anticipation which takes the form of determination - not only to survive adversity but, moreover, to endure well to the end," explained Elder Maxwell.

Hope stands with Church members at funerals, he added. "Our tears are just as wet, but not because of despair. Rather, they are tears of heightened appreciation evoked by poignant separation. Those tears of separation change, erelong, becoming tears of glorious anticipation."

Real hope, Elder Maxwell continued, inspires quiet Christian service. "Genuine, ultimate hope helps us to be more loving even while the love of many waxes cold," he said. "We are to be more holy, even as the world ripens in iniquity; more courteous and patient in a coarsening and curt world, and to be of strong hearts even when the hearts of others fail them."

Elder Maxwell said opportunities for helping others who have lost hope may be no further away than extended families, a discouraged neighbor or someone just around the corner. "By helping a child learn to read, visiting a lonely patient in a nursing home or by simply running an errand for a busy but overwhelmed parent, so much can be imparted to others. Likewise, a simple conversation can impart hope."

Therefore, he concluded, "being blessed with hope ourselves, let us, as disciples . . . reach out, including to those who, for whatever reason, have moved away from the hope of the gospel."

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