Dear brothers and sisters, I appreciate very much the opportunity to express to you some of my feelings.
Several years ago, my wife and I were present at the inaugural ceremony of the interactive children’s exhibit in the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. At the end of the ceremony, President Thomas S. Monson walked toward us, and as he shook our hands, he said, “Endure, and you shall triumph”—a profound teaching and one whose truth, of course, we can all affirm.
Jesus Christ assured us that “he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”1
To endure means “to remain firm in a commitment to be true to the commandments of God despite temptation, opposition, and adversity.”2
Even those who have had powerful spiritual experiences and have given faithful service could one day go astray or fall into inactivity if they do not endure to the end. May we always and emphatically keep in our minds and hearts the phrase “This will not happen to me.”
When Jesus Christ taught in Capernaum, “many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
“Then Jesus said unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?”3
I believe that today, Jesus Christ asks all of us who have made sacred covenants with Him, “Will ye also go away?”
I pray that all of us, with profound reflection about what the eternities hold for us, may respond as did Simon Peter: “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”4
Let us be faithful to what we have believed and know. If we have not been living according to our knowledge, let us change. Sinners who persist in their sins, and do not repent, sink deeper and deeper into filthiness, until Satan claims them for himself, significantly jeopardizing their opportunity to repent, to be forgiven, and to be blessed with all the blessings of eternity.
I have heard many justifications from those who have stopped participating actively in the Church and have lost the correct vision of the purpose of our journey on this earth. I exhort them to reflect and to return, because I believe that no one will be able to make excuses before our Lord, Jesus Christ.
When we were baptized, we made covenants—not with any man but with the Savior, agreeing to “take upon [ourselves] the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end.”5
Attendance at sacrament meetings is one of the key ways we can evaluate our determination to serve Him, our spiritual fortitude, and the growth of our faith in Jesus Christ.
Partaking of the sacrament is the most important thing we do on the Sabbath day. The Lord explained this ordinance to His Apostles just before He died. He did the same on the American continent. He tells us that if we participate in this ordinance, it will be a testimony to the Father that we always remember Him, and He promises that, accordingly, we will have His Spirit to be with us.6
In the teachings of Alma the Younger to his son Shiblon, we find wise counsel and warnings that help us remain faithful to our covenants:
“See that ye are not lifted up unto pride; yea, see that ye do not boast in your own wisdom, nor of your much strength.
“Use boldness, but not overbearance; and also see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness.”7
Several years ago, while on vacation, I wanted to go kayaking for the first time. I rented a kayak, and full of enthusiasm, I launched into the sea.
After a few minutes, a wave overturned the kayak. With a great deal of effort, holding the paddle in one hand and the kayak in the other, I was able to regain my footing.
I tried again to paddle my kayak, but just a few minutes later, the kayak tipped over again. I stubbornly kept on trying, to no avail, until someone who understood kayaking told me that there must be a crack in the shell and the kayak must have filled up with water, making it unstable and impossible to control. I dragged the kayak to the shore and removed the plug, and sure enough, out came a large amount of water.
I think that at times we move through life with sins that, like the leak in my kayak, impede our spiritual progress.
If we persist in our sins, we forget the covenants we have made with the Lord, even though we keep capsizing because of the imbalance that those sins create in our lives.
Like the cracks in my kayak, the cracks in our lives need to be dealt with. Some sins will require more efforts than others to repent of.
We should therefore ask ourselves: Where are we regarding our attitude toward the Savior and His work? Are we in Peter’s situation when he denied Jesus Christ? Or have we advanced to the point where we have the attitude and determination he had after the great commission he received from the Savior?8
We must strive to obey all the commandments and pay close attention to those that are hardest for us to keep. The Lord will be at our side, helping us in times of need and weakness, and if we demonstrate a sincere desire and act accordingly, He will make “weak things become strong.”9
Obedience will give us the strength to overcome sin. We must also understand that the trial of our faith requires us to obey, often without knowing the results.
I suggest a formula that will help us endure to the end:
Daily, pray and read the scriptures.
Weekly, partake of the sacrament with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
Pay our tithing and our monthly fast offering.
Every two years—every year for the youth—renew our temple recommends.
Throughout our whole lives, serve in the work of the Lord.
May the great truths of the gospel steady our minds, and may we keep our lives free of the cracks that can impede our safe journey through the sea of this life.
Success in the Lord’s way has a price, and the only way to achieve it is to pay that price.
How grateful I am that our Savior endured unto the end, completing His great atoning sacrifice.
He suffered for our sins, pains, depression, anguish, infirmities, and fears, and so He knows how to help us, how to inspire us, how to comfort us, and how to strengthen us so that we may endure and obtain the crown that is reserved for those who are not defeated.
Life is different for each of us. We all have a time of trials, a time for happiness, a time for making decisions, a time for overcoming obstacles, and a time for taking advantage of opportunities.
Whatever our personal situations may be, I testify that our Heavenly Father is constantly saying, “I love you. I sustain you. I am with you. Do not give up. Repent and endure in the path that I have shown you. And I assure you that we will see each other again in our celestial home.” In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.