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Sister Neill F. Marriott: ‘Abiding in God and Repairing the Breach’


Sister Neill F. Marriott: ‘Abiding in God and Repairing the Breach’


The Savior "repairs the breach" between a person and Heavenly Father, as well as in personal relationships, Sister Neill F. Marriott of the Young Women general presidency said during the 187th Semiannual General Conference.

“We need to continually deepen our knowledge of and obedience to Heavenly Father. Our relationship with Him is eternal,” she said. “We are His beloved children and that will not change."

During the General Women's Session on Sept 23, Sister Marriott asked the congregation: "How are we going to wholeheartedly accept His invitation to draw near to Him, and thus enjoy the blessings He longs to give us in this life and in the world to come?”

Recognizing the purpose of coming to earth is to learn and grow, Sister Marriott said the most important learning and growing will come from a person’s covenant connection to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

“From our faithful relationship with them comes Godly knowledge, love, power and capacity to serve others,” she said.

Important to learning about Heavenly Father is understanding His plan.

“We need to know Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation is that we obey the laws and ordinances of the gospel and gain eternal life and thus become as God is,” she said. "This is the true and lasting happiness Heavenly Father offers us. And there is no other true and lasting happiness.”

Sister Marriott recognized that challenges can pull a person off their “course of happiness,” that is, if they allow trials to distract them instead of sending them to their knees.

“A matter of lasting value to the Father is that we learn of Him, humble ourselves, and grow in obedience to Him through earthly experiences,” she said. “He wants us to change our selfishness into service, our fears into faith. These lasting matters can test us to our core. It is now, with our mortal limitations, that the Father asks us to love when loving is most difficult, to serve when serving is inconvenient, to forgive when forgiving is soul stretching.

"How? How will we do it? We earnestly reach for Heavenly Father’s help, in the name of His Son, and do things His way instead of pridefully asserting our own will.”

Sins and pride create a breach — or gap — between a person and Heavenly Father. It is only through the Savior’s Atonement that a person can close that gap and be cleansed from his or her sins, she said.

“We want to be encircled in the arms of our Heavenly Father’s love and guidance and so — we put His will first, and with a broken heart plead that Christ will pour streams of cleansing water into our pitcher,” she said.

At first the cleansing water may come drop by drop, Sister Marriott taught. But as a person seeks, asks and obeys, it will come abundantly.

“This living water will begin to fill us, and brimming with His love, we can tip the pitcher of our soul and share its contents with others who thirst for healing, hope and belonging. As our inner vessel comes clean, our earthly relationships begin to heal.”

Christ has the power to bring all into loving fellowship with the Father and one another.

“He, by the power of the Holy Ghost, can give us needed insight into relationships.”

Sister Marriott shared a story of a young boy who was an “uncooperative loner” in his Sunday school class. One Sunday his teacher felt prompted to tell the class why he loved the young boy. The teacher then asked the class members to tell the boy why he was special to them. After the praise the young man lowered his head and tears ran down his face. The teacher and class were able to build a bridge to the young boys heart.

“Simple love, honestly expressed, gives hope and value to others,” she said. “I call this ‘repairing the breach or the gap.’”

Just as the Savior is able to help repair the breach between a person and Heavenly Father, he also is able to — through the atonement — help repair the breach in relationships with others.

“Healing and emotional distance between each other will require our acceptance of God's love coupled with a sacrifice of our natural selfish and fearful tendencies,” Sister Marriott said.

Sister Marriott shared an example of a time she had a disagreement about a political issue with a relative. She spoke of the process she went through as she prayed to have Heavenly Father give a portion of His love to her so she too could love her. As a result, hard feelings softened and she began to sense this person’s real value and goodness.

Over time, the gap sweetly closed and through the help of Heavenly Father and Christ, she was able to love her relative.

“Heavenly Father will help us love even those we may think are unlovable, if we plead for His aid,” she said. “The Savior’s Atonement is a conduit for the constant flow of charity from our Father in Heaven. We must choose to abide in order to have charity for all.

“When we give our heart to the Father and the Son, we change our world even if circumstances around us do not change,” she said. “We draw closer to Heavenly Father and feel His tender acceptance of our efforts to be true disciples of Christ. Our discernment, confidence and faith increase.

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