Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Preserving the Heart's Mighty Change

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Preserving the Heart’s Mighty Change, by Elder Dale G. Renlund
Of the Seventy

I must be pretty boring. In the past few days, I've admitted to the following: I've never broken a bone, I've never had major surgery, and I've never been outside of the United States.


In his address, Elder Renlund references an old Time article (from 1967) chronicling the events surrounding the first heart transplants (link to article). Now, these people weren't boring—they were on the cutting edge of innovation! Elder Renlund knows all about these things; his professional history is full of cardiac references (and you'll also find the word "transplant" sprinkled heavily in, too).

Given his considerable ethos on the matter of heart transplants, his subsequent point has considerable validity: "The ultimate operation is not a physical but a spiritual 'mighty change' of heart."

Perhaps I don't need surgery, broken bones, or a fully-stamped passport to rise above the distinction of boring: all I need on my resume is the ultimate operation—a change of heart.

(This is good news, because surgery sounds complicated, broken bones are unnecessarily painful, and I don't have much time for travel presently.)

Before I pat myself on the back for having had a change of heart, I need to remember Elder Renlund's main point: it's not the change of heart that matters most, it's the maintenance and preservation of the changed heart; I need to endure to the end!

After sharing an example from his life when his changed heart was being neglected, he said:

To endure to the end, we need to be eager to please God and worship Him with fervor and passion. . . . We must identify temptations that easily beset us and put them out of reach—way out of reach.

The Book of Mormon has incredible stories of missionary efforts and successes. Perhaps the more important points to me now may be the parts where those who have had a change of heart receive a spiritual biopsy: "If ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?" (see Alma 5:12-14, 26)

Can I feel so now?

Sometimes? Yes.

Would I like to more? Of course.

I think it's time to "go under the knife" and have my spiritually changed heart biopsied to ensure that the change can be permanent. I felt the significance of Elder Renlund's reminder:

Remember, more than mortal years on this earth are at stake. Do not risk forfeiting the fruits of the ultimate operation: eternal salvation and exaltation.

In the end, I'll be fine if I'm still classified as "boring," I just want to have the courage to "press forward with steadfast faith in Christ and endure joyfully to the end," eagerly pleasing God and worshiping Him with fervor.

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