Learning to obey is essential to progress

  • Use agency to do Lord's will
  • Obey commandments
  • Serve His children

Obedience to the Lord's commandments is "essential to progress" and "the best preparation to serve," said Elder Athos M. Amorim in his first address in general conference since being sustained as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy last April 4.

Speaking Saturday afternoon from his experience as a retired colonel in the Brazilian Army, Elder Amorim referred to a sign posted on an outside wall of the Brazilian Army Academy for young cadets that read: "You will command. So learn to obey."

"Early in life I learned that obedience is a great virtue, essential to our progress," he said. "I'm not talking about blind obedience, but the obedience that allows us to reach a higher and more spiritual level in life, using our agency to do the will of the Lord.

"The greatest example of obedience was given by the Lord Jesus Christ when He said: `nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.' (Luke 22:42.)

"Something else I learned in the Army is that soldiers in my country do not use the verb to work' when they talk about their assignments," he said. "Rather, they use the verbto serve,' helping them to always remember the commitment to serve our people and our country.

"In Church service, this definition was enlarged to include a meaning closer to the teachings of the Lord, that is to serve His children wherever they may live."

Elder Amorim acknowledged the "many brothers and sisters

whoT are willing to make the sacrifice to travel many hours and long distances to serve in the House of the Lord."

"Many times," Elder Amorim continued, "the most beautiful examples of obedience and service are given by ordinary people who live close to us." He told of Ana Rita de Jesus, an elderly widow who lived in Anapolis, Brazil. She couldn't read or write, but invited missionaries into her home each week to read the scriptures to her.

"She was loving and kind," said Elder Amorim. "Every Sunday she would ask the missionaries to help her fill out a tithing slip. Sometimes, her tithing and offerings were not more than a few cents, but she knew the law and wanted to obey it.

"After paying her tithing," Elder Amorim continued, "she would walk into the room where the sacrament meeting was held in the rented house used as a chapel and would place a flower on the pulpit. In doing so, she served her brothers and sisters, bringing beauty to the place where we worshiped the Lord.

"That sister, in a very simple way, taught us obedience and service through her faith, because she knew that obeying the commandments is the best preparation to serve."

Elder Amorim then shared counsel he received from President James E. Faust, when he was called as a General Authority, to "be yourself." "I am, like each one of you, a child of God, who wants to obey the Lord and serve wherever He sends me, and thus be a better child of our Heavenly Father."