Somewhere on that path we stopped and wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. Life that day seemed so overwhelming, and the undergraduate plus graduate years that we still anticipated before us seemed monumental, nearly insurmountable. Our love for each other and our commitment to the gospel were strong, but most of all the other temporal things around us seemed particularly ominous.
On a spot that I could probably still mark for you today, I turned to Pat and said something like this: “Honey, should we give up? I can get a good job and carve out a good living for us. I can do some things. I’ll be okay without a degree. Should we stop trying to tackle what right now seems so difficult to face?”
In my best reenactment of Lot’s wife, I said, in effect, “Let’s go back. Let’s go home. The future holds nothing for us.”
Then my beloved little bride did what she has done for more than 52 years since then. She grabbed me by the lapels and said, “We are not going back. We are not going home. The future holds everything for us.”
She stood there in the sunlight that day and gave me a real talk. I don’t recall that she quoted Paul, but there was certainly plenty in her voice that said she was committed to setting aside all that was past in order to “press toward the mark” and seize the prize of God that lay yet ahead. It was a living demonstration of faith. It was “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). So we laughed, kept walking, and finished up sharing a root beer—one glass, two straws—at the then newly constructed Wilkinson Center.
Remember, my dear young friends, the future holds everything for you. Be faithful. Believe. The Lord will bless you.
Often, like Lot’s wife, we long to return to past days. I have come to the conclusion that Lot’s wife did not just look back; she looked back longingly. In short, her attachment to the past outweighed her confidence in the future. That, apparently, was at least part of her sin.
So, as a new year starts and we try to benefit from a proper view of what has gone before, I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone, nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those yesterdays may have been. The past is to be learned from but not lived in.
To all such of every generation, I call out, “Remember Lot’s wife.” Faith is for the future. Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there. Faith trusts that God has great things in store for each of us and that Christ truly is the “high priest of good things to come.”
Keep your eyes on your dreams, however distant and far away. Live to see the miracles of repentance and forgiveness, of trust and divine love that will transform your life today, tomorrow, and forever. That is a New Year’s resolution I ask you to keep this new year.
I once gave a message about traveling across the country with my young family when our car kept breaking down. I encouraged everyone at that time to never give up because good things are just ahead (http://bit.ly/1BbEQR2). I say that to you again now. We never know what challenges are ahead of us, but one thing is for sure—we all have them; that is one of the purposes of this life. As we trust in the Lord to help us, we learn and grow in ways we can’t even imagine, our relationship with the Lord strengthens, and we gain deeper confidence that with His help we can make it through hard times. Another blessing is that the next challenges that come won’t seem as hard as they would have otherwise.
God lives. He is our Eternal Father and loves each of us. I testify that this is His true Church and that He sustains us in our hour of need—and always will, even if we cannot recognize that intervention. Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven, but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. Of that I personally attest.
Please let anyone affected by pornography know about new Church resources designed to help loved ones in this situation. I hope these materials will encourage people to turn to the Atonement of Jesus Christ to find the healing and hope we all so desperately need. His power extends to all. None of us needs to suffer alone.
You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you. He knows that your giving birth to a child does not immediately propel you into the circle of the omniscient.
If you and your husband will strive to love God and live the gospel yourselves; if you will plead for that guidance and comfort of the Holy Spirit promised to the faithful; if you will go to the temple to both make and claim the promises of the most sacred covenants a woman or man can make in this world; if you will show others, including your children, the same caring, compassionate, forgiving heart you want heaven to show you; if you try your best to be the best parent you can be, you will have done all that a human being can do and all that God expects you to do.
I told the audience there that whatever our religious affiliation, we all share concerns about the spread of pornography and poverty, abuse and abortion, sexual transgression, violence, crudity, cruelty, and temptation. Surely there is a way for people of good will who love God to stand together against the forces of sin. In this we have every right to be bold and believing, for “if God be for us, who can be against us?
I felt reminded of a common theme that appears in Christ’s post-resurrection greeting and message. Upon visiting his Apostles, he said, “Peace be unto you.” He repeated himself three times: “Peace be unto you.” He allowed them to see the nail prints in His hand and thrust their hands into His side. He told them, “Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”
The tragic irony of our world is that peace is a commodity that is so difficult to find. I think Christ’s initial greeting when we see Him again will be, “Peace be unto you.”
Let us try to find peace now. We may not make much headway politically, but maybe as individuals, in our homes, and in our chapels, we can find peace. It can happen for us. It will happen for us. I pray that each of us will find peace and bring it into our lives and our homes.
Sometimes we don’t miss things until they are suddenly not available to us. That truism has scores of applications in our lives. Let’s savor what we have and express appreciation for it, lest we lose it.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the most certain, the most secure, the most reliable, and the most rewarding truth on earth and in heaven, in time and in eternity. Nothing—not anything, not anyone, not any influence—will keep this Church from fulfilling its mission and realizing its destiny declared from before the foundation of the world. Ours is that fail-safe, inexorable, indestructible dispensation of the fulness of the gospel. There is no need to be afraid or tentative about the future.
Unlike every other era before us, this dispensation will not experience an institutional apostasy; it will not see a loss of priesthood keys; it will not suffer a cessation of revelation from the voice of Almighty God. Individuals will apostatize or turn a deaf ear to heaven, but never again will the dispensation collectively do so. What a secure thought! What a day in which to live!
If there are some bumps along the way while waiting to see every promise kept and every prophecy fulfilled, so be it. If you haven’t noticed, I am bullish about the latter days. In nothing could I have more faith than I have in God the Eternal Father, in Jesus Christ His Son, in Their redeeming gospel, and in their divinely-guided Church. Believe. Rise up. Be faithful. And make the most of the remarkable day in which we live!
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsQuorum of the Twelve Apostles, 1994 - present
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on June 23, 1994. At the time of this call, Elder Holland was serving as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, to which he had been called on April 1, 1989.
From 1980 until his call as a General Authority in 1989, Jeffrey R. Holland served as the ninth president of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He is a former Church commissioner of education and dean of the College of Religious Education at BYU.
A student leader and varsity athlete at Dixie High School and Dixie College in his native St. George, Utah, he received his bachelor's and master's degrees in English and religious education, respectively, from Brigham Young University. He obtained master and doctor of philosophy degrees in American Studies from Yale University.
Elder Holland was active in professional educational activity prior to his call to full-time Church service. He served as president of the American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities (AAPICU), on the board of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), and as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Presidents Commission. For his work in improving understanding between Christians and Jews, he was awarded the "Torch of Liberty" award by the Anti-Defamation League of B'Nai B'rith. He has served on the governing boards of a number of civic and business related corporations and has received the “Distinguished Eagle Scout” award from the Boy Scouts of America. He is the author of eight books, one of which he co-authored with his wife, Patricia.
Elder Holland was born December 3, 1940, to Frank D. and Alice Bentley Holland. In 1963, he married Patricia Terry. They are the parents of three children.
- Brigham Young UniversityEnglish and Religious Education