‘A compensatory spiritual power for the righteous’

Credit: Tom Smart, Deseret News
Credit: Tom Smart, Deseret News
Credit: Tom Smart, Deseret News
Credit: Tom Smart, Deseret News
Credit: Tom Smart, Deseret News
Credit: Tom Smart, Deseret News
Credit: Tom Smart, Deseret News
Credit: Tom Smart, Deseret News
Credit: Tom Smart, Deseret News


“As evil increases in the world, there is a compensatory spiritual power for the righteous,” Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles told thousands of people gathered for the BYU Campus Education Week devotional held in the Marriott Center on Aug. 18.

“The Lord has long anticipated this important period of human history,” he said. “He knows the end from the beginning. The Savior has assured us in our day: ‘Be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you.’ ”

Education week students of all ages gathered on the BYU campus to participate in hundreds of classes on a variety of topics. This year’s theme, “Hope an anchor of the soul,” comes from the scripture found in Hebrews 6:18-19 in the New Testament.

Recognizing the assignment to speak at the meeting was originally given to Elder L. Tom Perry, Elder Andersen shared some remarks remembering the late apostle and President Boyd K. Packer. Elder Perry, who died May 30, served 41 years as an apostle; President Packer, who died July 3, served 45 years as an apostle.

“During those many decades, they moved across the world and used every opportunity to testify of the divine mission of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the Restoration of His gospel,” Elder Andersen said. “And as they bore witness of Him, He refined them, purified them and sanctified them.”

Sharing some selected statistics from recent studies, Elder Andersen briefly spoke of the harsh realities of the day — an increase in terrorism throughout the world, children born to unmarried couples, a decline in religious affiliation and an increase in refugees and displaced people around the world. Yet, despite difficulty, Elder Andersen reminded listeners of the contrasting good in the world and the blessings that come to those who follow the Savior.

“We live in very interesting times, yet marvelous times,” he said. “We are in the dispensation of the fullness of times, when the fullness of the gospel has been restored, and as the world is being prepared for the Second Coming of the Savior. These are days of looking forward, of beautiful anticipation. These are our days.”

Elder Andersen spoke of the commotion and confusion — with many disregarding the commandments of God — the world will experience in preparation for the Second Coming of the Savior.

“As we find our way in a world less attentive to the commandments of God, we will certainly be prayerful, but we need not be overly alarmed,” he said. “The Lord will bless His Saints with the added spiritual power necessary to meet the challenges of our day. …

“As the world slides from its spiritual moorings, the Lord prepares the way for those who seek Him, offering them greater assurance, greater confirmation, and greater confidence in the spiritual direction they are traveling. The gift of the Holy Ghost becomes a brighter light in the emerging twilight.”

Elder Andersen shared some possible scenarios to illustrate his point: in a world growing more physically dark, he suggested that the Lord would give an individual enhanced night vision. If people are to experience loud noise constantly in their ears, he suggested, the Lord would give a filtering mechanism to block unwanted sound.

“As evil increases in the world, there is a compensatory power, an additional spiritual endowment, a revelatory gift for the righteous,” he said. “This added blessing of spiritual power does not settle upon us just because we are part of this generation. It is willingly offered to us; it is eagerly put before us. But as with all spiritual gifts, it requires our desiring it, pursuing it and living worthy of receiving it.”

Essential to that spiritual power is confidence in the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to lift all who choose to follow Him to greater heights. There is an added spiritual power for people who are willing to increase their faith in Jesus Christ.

Elder Andersen shared three current examples that show the Lord’s hand at work bringing more spiritual power to His saints.

First, he spoke of a young missionary who shared the spiritual power he received as he participated in the temple challenge — to find family names and then take them to the temple — issued by Elder Andersen to the youth of the Church in 2014. Prior to his mission, the young man found names of his family and took them to the temple to perform ordinances in their name. For the young man, it was a catalyst to greater spiritual blessings and a more sure conversion to Jesus Christ and the Restoration.

Second, Elder Andersen spoke of temples now available throughout the world. Using the example of a woman who, after tragedy in her marriage not of her own doing, found peace as she attended the temple.

Elder Andersen quoted President Monson as saying: “As we enter through the doors of the temple, we leave behind us the distractions and confusion of the world. Inside this sacred sanctuary, we find beauty and order. There is rest for our souls and a respite from the cares of our lives” (April 2015 general conference).

Through attending the temple, Latter-day Saints are promised they will be better able to overcome temptations, bear the trials they face and find peace, he taught. “The temple is an added gift from heaven to us,” he said. “We need to embrace it with renewed dedication.”

Another example of compensatory spiritual blessing for the righteous is the world of technology and communication — even with all its distractions. Elder Andersen spoke of the access Church members throughout the world have to the words of the Lord’s prophets.

“The words of the Lord’s prophet, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve are always available to lighten our path and help show us the way,” he said. “Their united voice, if followed, will help set aside the enticing voices of the world.”

Using the example of the recent counsel about Sabbath day observance, Elder Andersen spoke of the blessings individuals will receive as they heed the counsel of living prophets.

Through righteous living, individuals are developing the faith necessary to survive spiritually in current and future conditions.

“I promise you that as you embrace the spiritual gifts prepared for the righteous, He will steady you, strengthen you, shape you and secure you,” he said. “You will be His.” @marianne_holman

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