PROVO, Utah — Happiness and peace in this life and in the world to come depend upon remembering the Savior and covenants with Him daily.
That was the message Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared during a BYU devotional held in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on Feb. 5.
Following the devotional, Elder Soares dedicated a new wing of the Caroline Hemenway Harman Building on the BYU Provo campus.
Elder Soares told the students they have been preserved to be born at a time during preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. “Truly, there has never been a time like this in the history of the world,” he said. “We are living in a time of significant technological, medical and scientific advancement.”
However, this is also a challenging time. “We have seen steadily declining moral values that have dramatically changed the world through the years.”
The scriptures demonstrate a similar cycle of prosperity and pride that has affected God’s children throughout human history, Elder Soares said. When people remembered the Lord, they prospered; when they forgot Him, they fell into a cycle of pride resulting in rejecting the Lord and the poor and needy, he said. Eventually the society collapsed, and through those resulting trials, the people became humble and repented, turning back to the Lord.
As an example, Elder Soares told the story of Uzziah, one of the kings of Judah whose name means “Jehovah is my strength,” or “Jehovah’s strength.” Uzziah was known as one who always remembered the Lord, and during his reign, the kingdom of Judah experienced the greatest period of prosperity since King Solomon’s time.
But pride in his military triumphs, great power and wealth caused him to forget the Lord. For this sin, Uzziah was struck with leprosy and forced to live in isolation from his people until he died.
“Uzziah prospered in every way in his life while he remembered the Lord; but when he forgot Him, Uzziah experienced heartbreak, disappointment and sorrow for his sin,” Elder Soares said.
So how can this generation avoid being affected by modern-day leprosies and always remember the Lord? he asked.
During the sacrament, those who partake covenant to “always remember Him, the Savior. This covenant is repeated in both sacrament prayers.”
The word “remember” is used hundreds of times in the scriptures. In the Hebrew context, the word involves a knowledge that is accompanied by appropriate action. “Thus, ‘doing’ is an essential part of the remembering,” Elder Soares explained.
“In summary, the more we remember the Lord, the more power we will have to keep on the path doing what the Lord expects from us.”
A year after the Restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith received a revelation from the Lord, found in Doctrine and Covenants 59, that gave a broader dimension to the covenant to “always remember Him.”
“Through this revelation, the Lord taught us about the why, the how and the what to do to ‘always remember Him,’” Elder Soares said. “The why: ‘to fully keep thyself unspotted from the world.’ The how: ‘that thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness with a broken heart and contrite spirit.’ And, finally, the what: ‘to offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord.’”
Partaking of the sacrament is regarded with such importance by Heavenly Father that followers are admonished to partake of it regularly every Sunday.
The covenant to “always remember Him” should influence and inspire every decision and action one makes in his or her life, Elder Soares said. “It affects, for example, how we speak, what we choose to do, to watch, to read and to listen to, and how we treat one another. I can assure you that the Lord Himself will inspire these decisions, guide us in our challenges and assure that the harvest will be positive.”
Given the reality of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, life has eternal and divine possibilities for those who always remember Him, Elder Soares said. “It is of central importance to remember the feelings we have when we partake of the sacrament. We are preparing for eternal life and exaltation as we partake of the sacrament and promise to remember the Savior in our hearts and minds.”
Inviting the students to consider things they could do to always remember Jesus Christ every day, the Apostle left a blessing on them to help them always remember and recognize the Savior in their lives; to allow His influence to guide their thoughts, feelings and decisions; and to feel of the Savior’s love and real concern for their well-being.
“I invite you to feel for His love and have faith that He will come to you. I promise that He is near and that He will, indeed, come to you. He will always be with us.”
Alyssa Gates, a junior from Provo studying interdisciplinary humanities, loved Elder Soares' invitation to feel the Savior's love. "We choose to let the Savior into our lives," she said.
"I think taking time to remember Him every day and doing the things He wants me to do will bless me to look forward to and be ready for the sacrament."
Gates appreciated the simplicity and power of finding happiness and peace by remembering the Savior. "Choosing to let Him be a part of our life and relying on Him really does bless us to have joy."
Josh Barlow, a sophomore from Salt Lake City, appreciated how genuine and loving Elder Soares was. "It was very clear that he himself remembers the Savior in everything that he does, so it was very easy to feel how important his invitation was when he extended it to us," he said.
The Apostle's message defined something that Barlow had been feeling for some time: "I need to make more of an effort to remember the Savior on a daily basis."
Melissa Jardine, a sophomore from Salt Lake City, said college students tend to be worried and stressed about many things. But she learned in the devotional that as one remembers the Savior, "we’ll be blessed, we’ll be provided for and things will work out as we need them to. We can’t fall into that pride cycle of remembering the Lord and then when everything is OK to forget about Him.”
As Elder Soares spoke, Jardine realized that in her efforts to remember the Savior, "I need to make it not only a daily, but hourly mental thought — to always be actively remembering the Savior in everything that I do.”