“The Blessings of Church Membership,” Ensign, March 2020
This year we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the visit of the Father and the Son to Joseph Smith. Ten years after the First Vision, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized, providing the ordinances, gospel teachings, and priesthood authority necessary for our salvation.
As the world becomes increasingly secular, however, many people wonder why organized religion is necessary. They feel that they can be close to God in settings outside of a church. While it is true that we can feel the Lord’s Spirit in many places, this issue of the Ensign explores a few of the reasons the Lord organized His Church and how His restored Church focuses our learning and amplifies our individual responses to His Spirit for good in our day.
As I note in my article on page 26, Church members are following the teaching of the Prophet Joseph Smith to “feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, … to comfort the afflicted, whether in this church, or in any other.” In my work with Latter-day Saint Charities, I’ve witnessed the tremendous contributions the Church is making in more than 100 countries each year. Thanks to small donations from Church members, our brothers and sisters throughout the world have been blessed with the necessities of life and much more.
On page 14, President Dallin H. Oaks explains why the Lord leads His Church through prophets and apostles, and on page 20, Sister Jean B. Bingham, with whom I serve in the Relief Society General Presidency, shares a message about the influence of women and how we help each other reach our divine potential by working together in the Church. The compilation of quotations on page 32 and the article by Kate Holbrook and Samuel Brown on page 38 provide additional perspectives on the blessings that the Church offers us.
May God bless us as individuals and as a people to continue ministering in a higher and holier way until the Savior comes again.
Sister Sharon Eubank
First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency