Monday, February 27, 2012

We Are All Enlisted

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

We Are All Enlisted, by Jeffrey R. Holland
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Shortly after graduating from high school, I moved to Texas and lived with my sister and her husband who were both active-duty military serving in the Army. No longer living with my parents at home, this was the first time I conscientiously decided who I was going to be and what I was going to do. As I ventured off to church each Sunday—making the decision to go—I sometimes felt alone. There I sat, on the back row of the chapel, often all alone.

In this trying time, there was a frequent hymn that was sung in our services that helped me feel like I belonged with this group of saints—many of whom were active-duty military: We Are All Enlisted (link).

Sure, I wasn't in the military, but I got the message. I could do something to contribute as part of God's Army, if you will. I understood, as Elder Holland reminded, that the line of the song that reads, "We are waiting now for soldiers; who'll volunteer?" wasn't a call to arms. At least not in the traditional sense.

Of course, the great thing about this call to arms is that we ask not for volunteers to fire a rifle or throw a hand grenade. No, we want battalions who will take as their weapons "every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God" (D&C 84:44). So I am looking tonight for missionaries who will not voluntarily bind their tongues but will, with the Spirit of the Lord and the power of their priesthood, open their mouths and speak miracles.

Army of One
Army of Two-by-Two

The time I spent at Fort Hood seemed to be my personal basic training before I enlisted full-time in God's Army as a full-time missionary. I worked hard and had the smile of someone who knew he was making a difference!

Interestingly, a soon-to-be-departing missionary spoke in our ward yesterday. He has a military background and made these same comparisons between the World's Best Green Army and the Lord's Army of missionaries. As he spoke, I admit that I started to do what I did when I listened to Elder Holland's talk; I sat back congratulating myself on a job well done.

Of course, I'm not done! My service isn't limited to two years spent more than ten long years ago! Elder Holland spoke of the need for couples to serve, too.

Way back when I was a full-time missionary, we would say to picture those we were teaching in white. We meant, of course, the white baptismal clothes they would wear when they made the sacred covenants of baptism as well as the white clothes they would wear in the Lord's House, the temple.

After returning home and while courting my girlfriend, I would sometimes likewise picture her and me in white, kneeling at a sacred alter as we made covenants associated with eternal marriage.

Now that I'm reminded of the need for couples to "join the ranks," I picture myself and my girlfriend (now my wife) in white again. This time it's our hair that's white! We're older, lovingly serving the Lord as missionaries. Together!

I know that I can't sit back in a self-congratulatory mood and wait for my hair to turn white before I "Haste to the battle," as the hymn charges. I'm going to spend my time helping my little batch of future soldiers, future missionaries.


Here's a great music video I kept thinking of while writing this blog post:

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