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Reflecting the Savior's light

Despite our varied cultures and situations, Latter-day Saints everywhere share a common attribute: we truly are, as the Lord declared, a peculiar people.

Even in countries where Christianity is not the dominant religion, Latter-day Saints can have an impact for good. By testifying of Jesus Christ and His mission to redeem all mankind, we repeat a message that transcends the ages. Even in those parts of the world where there is little religious freedom, this message is timely. Other forces — political, economic and cultural — may also be at work breaking down the walls of intolerance, but the message of Christ's love for each of us is more powerful than any of those forces at effecting change in people's lives.

As Latter-day Saints interact with their neighbors, we find we share many things in common with other people of good will. Many of our interests mirror theirs. We can work together harmoniously to improve and enhance the communities in which we live.

Early in the Church's history, President Brigham Young declared, "The most effectual way to establish the religion of Heaven is to live it, rather than die for it." Then he made this observation, "I think I am safe in saying that there are many of the Latter-day Saints who are more willing to die for their religion than live it faithfully." (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 221.)

No one said living the gospel was easy. Indeed, the standards we hold today may seem dated to the unrepentant. But for those who have observed Latter-day Saints up close for any length of time, they find the standards we live are very much admired. By submitting our wills to God and by obeying His commandments, we can reflect the Savior's light in all that we do. We truly can live in the world, but not succumb to worldly pleasures.

President Gordon B. Hinckley has counseled Church members today not to retreat from society. "On the contrary, we have a responsibility and a challenge to take our place in the world of business, science, government, medicine, education and every other worthwhile and constructive vocation. We have an obligation to train our hands and our minds to excel in the work of the world for the blessing of all mankind. In so doing we must work with others. But this does not require a surrender of standards." (Be Thou An Example, p. 27.)

Our commitment to the gospel of Christ involves first loving the Lord and then loving those around us. As the Saints in earlier times discovered, this may not always be easy. Loving those who do not share our beliefs or even our culture can be difficult. But God's commandment to us to love everyone has not been repealed. Sometimes the only way to love others is to live our religion the best we can each day.

And how is that possible? By obeying the covenants we took upon ourselves at baptism, to repent of our sins, to keep the Sabbath Day holy, to live the Word of Wisdom, to hold daily family prayer and scripture study and to avoid pornography and the excesses of the world.

President Harold B. Lee counseled, "The righteous man . . . is humble and does not parade his righteousness to be seen of men but conceals his virtues. . . . He is not so much concerned about what he can get, but more about how much he can give to others." (Stand In Holy Places, p. 332-3.)

Indeed, as we progress in the gospel, we find that the easiest way for us to accomplish the most good is to look beyond ourselves and our situations and help someone else.

President Heber J. Grant reminds us, "The true key to happiness in life is to labor for the happiness of others." (Gospel Standards, p. 161.) And President Hinckley observed, "It seems to me that He [the Savior] is saying to each of us that unless we lose ourselves in the service of others, our lives are largely lived to no real purpose. He who lives only unto himself withers and dies, while he who forgets himself in the service of others grows and blossoms in this life and in eternity." (BYU Speeches of the Year 1977, p. 43).

President Spencer W. Kimball observed, "Only when you lift a burden, God will lift your burden. Divine paradox this! The man who staggers and falls because his burden is too great can lighten that burden by taking on the weight of another's burden." (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 251.)

President Hinckley said, "The candle that the Lord has lighted in this dispensation can become a light unto the whole world, and others seeing our good works may be led to glorify our Father in heaven and emulate in their own lives the examples they may have observed in ours." (Be Thou An Example, p. 28.)

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