Latter-day Saints become converted and spiritually self-reliant as they prayerfully live their covenants through worthily partaking of the sacrament, being worthy of a temple recommend and sacrificing to serve others, said Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve.
"Throughout our lives, whether in times of darkness, challenge, sorrow, or sin we may feel the Holy Ghost reminding us that we are truly sons and daughters of a caring Heavenly Father Who loves us and hunger for the sacred blessings that only He can provide," said Elder Hales. "At these times we should strive to come to ourselves and come back into the light of our Savior's love."
Speaking Saturday afternoon, Elder Hales said to worthily partake of the sacrament, Church members should remember that they are renewing the covenant they made at baptism. "For the sacrament to be a spiritually cleansing experience each week, we need to prepare ourselves before coming to sacrament meeting," he said. "We do this by deliberately leaving behind our daily work and recreation, and letting go of worldly thoughts and concerns. As we do we make room in our minds and hearts for the Holy Ghost.
"Then we are prepared to ponder on the Atonement. More than just thinking about the facts of the Savior's suffering and death, our pondering helps us recognize that through the Savior's sacrifice, we have the hope, opportunity and strength to make real, heartfelt changes in our lives."
Elder Hales said parents and leaders can help youth experience the incomparable blessings of the sacrament by providing special opportunities for them to learn about, discuss and discover the relevance of the Atonement. "Let them search the scriptures for themselves and teach one another from their own experiences."
In addition to the sacrament, Elder Hales said Latter-day Saints' desire to return to Heavenly Father increases as they become worthy to obtain a temple recommend. "We become worthy by steadily obeying the commandments," he added.
Worthiness to hold a temple recommend gives Church members the strength to keep their temple covenants, he explained. "How do we personally gain that strength? We strive to obtain a testimony of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, the reality of the Atonement and the truthfulness of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Restoration. We sustain our leaders, treat our families with kindness, stand as a witness of the Lord's true Church, attend our Church meetings, honor our covenants, fulfill parental obligations and live a virtuous life. You may say, that sounds like just being a faithful Latter-day Saint. You are right. The standard for temple recommend holders is not too high for us to achieve."
As endowed temple recommend holders, Church members establish patterns of Christlike living, he said. "These include obedience, making sacrifices to keep the commandments, loving one another, being chaste in thought and action, and giving of ourselves to build the kingdom of God."
Further, he said, "As our desires to learn and live the gospel increase, we naturally seek to serve on another, Elder Hales said.
"Whether we are young or old, what we do today determines the service we will be able to render and enjoy tomorrow," he said. "Let us not live our lives in regret of what we did not did not do."