Friday, July 30, 2010

Turn to the Lord

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Turn to the Lord, by Elder Donald L. Hallstrom
Of the Presidency of the Seventy

There is great value in contrast. When two things are compared, it often becomes easier to determine which is better based on the comparison.

Yesterday something reminded me of the classic contrast scenario: A daughter approaches her parents, face looking stricken. In deep anguish, and with tears in her eyes, she tremblingly tells them, "I'm pregnant." The daughter is young, unwed, and in nowise ready for motherhood. Discouragement, disappointment, and remorse settle on the group.

Compare this with an alternate story—it can even be the same characters, only set later: A daughter and her husband approach their parents, faces looking radiant. In pure bliss, and with tears of joy in her eyes, she reverently tells them, "I'm pregnant." This couple is young (but perhaps not as young as in the first scenario), happily married, and in every respect prepared for parenthood. Enthusiasm, rejoicing, and thanksgiving settle on the group.

While the same two words were said, "I'm pregnant," the moods could not be different.

Although contrast is ofter used to illustrate the extremes, it is still effective as an illustrative teaching and analysis tool. In his talk, Elder Hallstrom presents another comparison scenario. His example, likewise, has to do with a small child, but with different results. He compares two families, both of whom encounter great loss when a child and/or mother die due to various complications at or around childbirth. The results of how these families deal with this challenge are, as you now expect, quite different. One family turned away from the Lord and drift to spiritual inactivity. The other family "immediately turned. . . to the Lord and His Atonement." They, and their posterity, found comfort, solace, and inspiration through this tragic experience.

The words of the prophet Lehi are applicable here: "For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things" (see 2 Nephi 2:11). Without opposition, contrast—and it's positive and negative effects—could not be possible:

Throughout the world and among the membership of the Church, there is great joy and great pain. Both are part of the plan. Without one, we cannot know the other.

I'm grateful for the examples of faith and trust at the crux of contrast—during that pivotal time where eternity hangs in the balance. But even more, I'm grateful for Christ and His Atonement, and that we can turn to the Lord and find peace and comfort in our most painful times.

I just saw a new YouTube "Mormon Messages" video that is entirely applicable:

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