How to obtain ‘an abundant life and life eternal,’ Elder Bassett teaches BYU students

As a student at Brigham Young University three decades ago, Elder W. Mark Bassett had many faith-building experiences in his classes — classes on topics such as geology, physical science and organizational behavior — in which professors demonstrated what it means to “seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” 

“Brigham Young University is focused on the whole of its students, not only in this life but in the life to come,” said the General Authority Seventy. “How unique is that? … In today’s world of weakening spiritual self-reliance and more brazenly enforced secularity, may I restate — your BYU educational experience is beautifully unique.”

Speaking during a BYU campus devotional on Tuesday, Nov. 16, Elder Bassett expressed his hope for those who were listening: “abundant life and eternal life” through the Savior’s Atonement (John 10:10). 

To help his audience develop the mindset to receive this abundant and eternal life, Elder Bassett pointed to the words the apostle Paul wrote to his young missionary companion, Timothy: “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Timothy 4:6).  

“What does it mean to take heed unto yourself and unto the doctrine?” Elder Bassett asked.

Elder W. Mark Bassett, General Authority Seventy, speaks during a BYU campus devotional on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021.
Elder W. Mark Bassett, General Authority Seventy, speaks during a BYU campus devotional on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. Credit: BYU Photo

‘Take heed unto thyself’

Simply put, taking heed unto oneself means to take care of oneself. “Take advantage of every resource and do your best to keep your spirit, your body and your mind strong,” he said.

Elder Bassett encouraged students to review the counsel in the Church’s resource “Adjusting to Missionary Life” — substituting words like “missionary” and “companion” for “student” and “roommate” — and to look for help from a bishop, teacher or good friend when things get tough. 

The Savior took heed unto himself during his mortal life with fasting and fervent prayer and studying the words of prophets. He studied the gospel of Jesus Christ from trusted sources.  

“You and I, now and for the rest of our lives, will best take heed unto ourselves by offering regular, even constant and sincere prayer, along with making time for diligent daily study of the word of God, found both in scripture and in the words of God’s living prophets,” Elder Bassett said. 

‘Take heed unto the doctrine’

During his opening remarks at October 2021 general conference, President Russell M. Nelson invited all to listen for three things: pure truth, the pure doctrine of Christ and pure revelation. 

Elder Bassett listed examples of pure truth, pure doctrine and pure revelation he heard in the message given by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles — “that God does love us the way we are but we must strive to be better than we are to enter His kingdom.” And God’s commandments are loving and intended to bring immediate and eternal blessings. 

Because of the abundance of information in this modern age, some give more credibility to available sources with an unknown origin rather than relying on personal revelation. 

“When we fail to maintain gospel purity — through speculation or seeking answers from unverified or disingenuous sources — we risk doctrinal drift. We distance ourselves from pure truth and from He who teaches truth,” Elder Bassett said. 

President Nelson warned that if most of the information one receives comes from social or other media, his or her ability to hear the whisperings of the Spirit will be diminished. “If you’re not also seeking the Lord through daily prayer and gospel study, you leave yourself vulnerable to philosophies that may be intriguing but are not true,” the Prophet declared. 

Trust the pure sources the Lord has provided: the scriptures and the words of His prophets, seers and revelators, Elder Bassett said. 

Using the analogy of true north with reference to the earth’s axis, he explained, “Taking heed unto the pure doctrine will lead you to ‘true north,’ your proper destination, undeterred by the magnetic ‘pulls’ of the world.”

Elder Bassett said in closing: “As you take heed unto yourself and take heed unto the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — the sponsors of this sacred institution — I know you will both save yourself and ‘ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto [many others]’ (3 Nephi 18:32) …

“‘Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity’ (1 Timothy 4:12),’ and you will both obtain and help others to obtain an abundant life and life eternal.”