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Apostle: What students can do to live happily ever after

By Genelle Pugmire - | Sep 14, 2021

Elder Dale G. Renlund uses stories and analogies to illustrate principles in his address on Monday, August 26, 2019, at the BYU Marriott Center. (Michael Schnell, special to the Daily Herald).

Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asked students attending the Brigham Young University devotional Tuesday, what they can do to live “happily ever after.”

“The road to eternal happiness depends on lifelong conversion to the truths of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ,” Renlund said. “Lifelong conversion means that we endure to the end, remaining firm in our commitment to keep the covenants we have made with God — no matter what. Such a commitment cannot be conditional or dependent on the circumstances in our lives.”

Renlund said the best way to become a lifelong convert is to engage with the Doctrine of Christ which includes: Faith in the Savior and his atonement, repentance, baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost.

“We are invited to get on and stay on the covenant path and to participate in the Doctrine’s specified elements,” Renlund said.

Renlund noted that each element of the Doctrine of Christ builds on the preceding step. Repentance builds on faith, baptism on repentance, the gift of the Holy Ghost on baptism and then the sequence recurs.

“Each cycle ends progressively higher, so the subsequent cycle is higher and different,” Renlund said. “Enduring to the end is not a separate step in the Doctrine of Christ, as if we complete the first four steps and then hunker down, grit our teeth, and wait to die. No, enduring to the end is actively and intentionally repeating the steps in the Doctrine of Christ.”

Renlund referenced President Dallin H. Oaks’ teachings that individuals are commanded to repent for their sins and come to the Lord with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and partake of the sacrament (communion).

“The sacrament unlocks the power of God for you and me,” Renlund said. “However, we frequently miss out on this power. Before sacrament meeting, we may scurry about, text on our phones, or otherwise be preoccupied. We may enter the meeting late or worry about how someone is reacting to the sacrament service. With these distractions, the blessing of the sacrament is diminished for us.”

Renlund told students the repetitive cycle of the Doctrine of Christ to be iterative, the trajectory must be upward. “Choosing to believe in Jesus Christ and the validity of the Restoration of His Church is crucial.”

He believes that those with overexpressed guilt genes, need to remember the following words by Nelson Mandela. He frequently deflected accolades for his role in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa by saying, “I’m no saint — that is, unless you think a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying,” Renlund said.

Being converted is an ongoing — even a lifelong — process, according to Renlund. “That means that you can become ‘unconverted’ at least as easily as you can become ‘converted.’ Your faith and commitment are going to either increase or decrease. The increase depends on your upward movement on the covenant path, cycling through the elements of the Doctrine of Christ. The decrease happens if you disengage from the Doctrine of Christ.”

In conclusion, Renlund told the students that to live happily ever after is not that simple, but it doesn’t have to be complicated either. As an individual engages with the Doctrine of Christ, they develop the spiritual resilience that is essential to lifelong conversion.

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