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Share your light in a secular world

Elder Uchtdorf counsels leaders at BYU Management Society

In the world of secular business, some may fear that the mere mention of religious faith might be viewed as offensive. Yet, an apostle said he has learned, over time and particularly in recent years, that ethical and moral principles as they are taught in scripture and other good books "are being more and more appreciated by those around the globe."

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke Dec. 8 at the monthly luncheon in downtown Salt Lake City of the Salt Lake Chapter of the BYU Management Society, a group of graduates of the university who are involved in business.

"With your education, and with your influence as business people, you have the power to stand up and give your witness by living, by speaking to those principles and help people to see the light in some ways," Elder Uchtdorf told the society members.

"Wherever you go, please stand up," he said. "Don't be ashamed. The scripture says we should not be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, because it is the power unto salvation. It is the power unto salvation in all circumstances, even for those who do not accept Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world, as our Redeemer, as the Messiah."

By applying gospel principles, believers can eventually bless others' lives "when they are in a position to receive the message which is offered to them freely, not coercing them, but freely to see the light," he said.

To illustrate that gospel light can sometimes be felt more than seen, Elder Uchtdorf told of an experience he had at a fireside as a visiting General Authority in West Africa. At one point during the meeting, the electricity failed and the lights went out.

"All of a sudden, some of the members started singing hymns," he recounted. "So we were singing the hymns of the Restoration. And you couldn't see the light, but you could feel light in the room."

Such light is represented in the message of Christ and is celebrated at Christmas time, Elder Uchtdorf said. "In times of joy and in times of sadness — personal sadness, family sadness, business sadness — I think we can find light which will lead us out of darkness into an area where we will find satisfaction and hope and a wonderful view to the future."

Alluding to the account in 3 Nephi of the sign that was given to the Nephites of the birth of Christ, when the light did not cease for a period of a day, a night and a day, Elder Uchtdorf said such ceaseless light stays with individuals when Christ comes into their lives.

He told of how the light came into his life and the life of his family. He was 4 years old when they left his native Czechoslovakia and settled in Germany in the days following World War II. On one occasion in 1947, his grandmother was standing in a line waiting for food to be distributed. An elderly woman conversed with her about honesty and integrity and invited her to come to her church that Sunday.

The grandmother was so impressed that she got Elder Uchtdorf's parents to accompany her to what turned out to be a Latter-day Saint service. Wishing not to overwhelm the congregation, they went without the children, but when they saw the chapel filled with children, they were encouraged to bring their own children on subsequent Sundays.

"And a short time later, all of us were baptized," Elder Uchtdorf said. "Well, all, that is, except me, because I was only 6 years old at that time. I had to wait another two years."

He said his point in telling the story was to illustrate that "because of one person extending an invitation, standing for the beliefs she had,...our whole lives changed. Light, hope came into our lives." He said the name of the Latter-day Saint woman who extended the invitation was Ewig, which is a German word meaning "eternal."

"She is eternally my hero and my blessing and our blessing," he said.

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