The need for people to submit their will to the will of the Father was the counsel Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Seventy gave Church Educational System faculty and administrators during a training broadcast Tuesday, Aug. 8.
Elder Johnson, administrator for religious education and elementary and secondary education, was the concluding speaker at the CES Training Broadcast originating from the mezzanine chapel in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. It was broadcast live via satellite to meetinghouses in many parts of the world with rebroadcasts worldwide several times over days following, translated into 15 languages.
Others attending in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building were Elder W. Rolfe Kerr of the Seventy, Church commissioner of education; Relief Society General President Bonnie D. Parkin and Young Women General President Susan W. Tanner of the Church Board of Education; Young Men General President Charles W. Dahlquist and other CES administrators.
Asking listeners to "ponder the application of this subject to you personally and in your CES assignments," Elder Johnson said, "I want to address the use of our individual wills and specifically the quest to submit our will to the will of God."
Agency comes from God and He will not force our will, he continued. "We can align our will with the natural man or with the adversary and eventually find misery, or we can determine to align our will with our Father and find everlasting joy and peace."
He explained that the Savior provided the example of conforming one's will to the will of the Father.
"We want to become like the Savior," Elder Johnson stated. "There is no more direct way to become like Him than to follow His example in always doing the will of the Father. This is so simple, yet comprehensive."
He cited the example of Abraham submitting to the will of the Father in offering to sacrifice his son, Isaac. But, he added, Abraham by then had already shown a consistent pattern of conforming his will to the Father's.
"It had become the way he lived, and he reaped the blessings from it," Elder Johnson pointed out. "When we face major tests, we will also be ready if we are doing well on the small day-to-day tests of being submissive."
He acknowledged that those in his audience know of God's commandments and covenants and are familiar with the words of the living prophets.
"It seems that among the Latter-day Saints it is a more difficult challenge to choose to obey God's will than to know His will," he said. "Obeying the will of God, or in other words, aligning our will with His in all things is at the heart of our test here in mortality. It is at the core of our willingness to keep the commandments and our covenants. It encompasses our thoughts, desires, words and deeds."
Though submitting can be challenging, blessings always follow, he continued.
"The adversary would have us believe that submitting to God's will bring us to lasting sorrow, pain and grief. That is a lie. He would have us believe that any temporary humiliation, hardship or difficulty associated with doing God's will outweighs the blessings that come. The challenges associated with submitting our will never outweigh the blessings."
Elder Johnson concluded, "We can each get to that ultimate point where we have freely laid our whole will on the altar and gladly given it up. We get there line upon line. On our journey we will see many blessings come into our lives and great power. It may not be the type of power the world looks for, but is much more potent and lasting and real. We also bring the power of the Atonement more fully into our lives and step toward eternal rewards."
The opening presentation of the training broadcast was a pre-recorded report by assistant administrators on seminary and institute around the world. William R. Applegarth talked about Australia, and Randall L. Hall, who also conducted the broadcast meeting, spoke about Canada. Russell G. Bulloch gave a report on Mexico and Central America, Grant C. Anderson on South America, G. Bradley Howell on Asia, and John A. Monson on Africa.
Brother Anderson borrowed from President Boyd K. Packer's book, Teach Ye Diligently, to talk on teaching as the finest of the fine arts. He counseled CES instructors to master technical skills while remembering that the skills are not the objective, but are the means to an end. He told them their objective is to impact for good the minds and hearts of those they teach.
He said that, like all artists, teachers should create unique works, not copies. He said that though Leonardo Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" was a masterpiece, he didn't keep copying it over and over. Finally, he said that all great artists, teachers included, are influenced by the Spirit of God.
A portion of an orientation DVD for Church employees was then shown. In it, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of his career working for the Church and the changes in Church employment from that time to the present.
Garry K. Moore, religious education and elementary and secondary education associate administrator, talked about how seminary and institute have changed in the 40 years he has been a part of them, and asked what changes may come in the future as the Church continues to grow.
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