`Enduring to the end' is more than just surviving

Know who you are

Understand purpose of life- Live obediently

The scriptures teach, Elder Robert D. Hales said Sunday afternoon, that it is essential to endure to the end and there must be opposition in all things.

"It is not a question of if we are ready for the tests; it is a matter of when. We must prepare to be ready for tests that will present themselves without warning."

Elder Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve said the greatest example of faithfully enduring comes from the life of the Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ.

"When suffering upon the cross at Calvary . . . the Savior of the world was left alone by His Father to experience, of His own free will and choice, an act of agency which allowed Him to complete His mission of the Atonement.

"Jesus knew who He was - the Son of God. He knew His purpose - to carry out the will of the Father through the Atonement. His vision was eternal - `to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.' "

Drawing an example from this dispensation of enduring opposition and hardship, Elder Hales described how Joseph Smith patiently endured harassment, poverty, humiliation, unkind acts, tar and feathering, and false charges.

"Joseph knew that if he were to stop going forward with this great work, his earthly trials would probably ease. But he could not stop because he knew who he was, he knew for what purpose he was placed on earth, and he had the desire to do God's will."

Elder Hales related two experiences, one about a young woman in high school who learned that she was stronger than she was aware as she struggled to recover from head injuries suffered during an automobile accident; and, John Stephen Akhwari, a marathon runner from Tanzania, who demonstrated the courage to finish an international race, long after the winner crossed the finish line.

The runner knew he had to endure to the finish so he could honorably return to his home country, related Elder Hales.

"Our mission in life is much the same," he said. "We were not sent by Father in Heaven just to be born. We were sent to endure and return to Him with honor.

"Dwelling in the world is part of our mortal test. The challenge is to live in the world, yet not partake of the world's temptations which will lead us away from spiritual goals," he said.

The basic requirements for enduring to the end, Elder Hales explained, include: "knowing who we are - children of God with a desire to return to His presence; understanding the purpose of life - to endure to the end and obtain eternal life; and living obediently with a desire and determination to endure all things.

"We learn to endure to the end by learning to finish our current responsibilities, and we simply continue doing it all our lives," he said, explaining that people cannot expect to learn endurance in later years if qualities of completing assignments are not learned in younger years.

"Enduring to the end applies to all of God's commandments," he emphasized.

"There is more to endurance than just surviving and waiting for the end to overtake us. It takes great faith and courage to pray to our Heavenly Father, `not as I will, but as thou wilt.' "

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