Stay on the Train
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“Stay on the Train,” Liahona, Mar. 2002, 26

Stay on the Train

From an October 1992 general conference address.

… And make sure you carry your own light.

Elder Glenn L. Pace

When I was young I was overly dependent on my older sister. For example, I was a fussy eater, and when we went to visit our grandparents I was constantly faced with being offered food I didn’t like. To minimize my embarrassment, when the plate was passed to me, I would turn to my sister and ask, “Collene, do I like this?”

If it was familiar and she knew I didn’t like it, she would say, “No, he doesn’t like that.”

I could then say to Grandma, “She’s right. I don’t like it.”

If it was something we hadn’t eaten before, she would say, “Just a minute,” and taste it, and then tell me if I liked it or not. If she said I didn’t like it, no amount of coaxing could get me to eat it.

I know it is past time for me to rely on my own taste buds and stop denying myself healthy food just because my sister told me I didn’t like it.

On a much more serious note, I believe the time has come for all of us to feast on the fruit of our own testimony as opposed to the testimony of another person. The testimony of which I speak is much deeper than knowing the Church is true. We need to progress to the point of knowing we are true to the Church. We also need to increase our capacity to receive personal revelation. It is one thing to receive a witness that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. It is quite another to have spiritual self-confidence in your ability to receive the revelation to which you are entitled.

Many of us take the blessings of the gospel for granted. It is as if we are passengers on the train of the Church, which has been moving forward gradually and methodically. Sometimes we have looked out the window and thought, “That looks kind of fun out there. This train is so restrictive.” So we have jumped off and gone and played in the woods for a while. Sooner or later, we find it isn’t as much fun as Satan makes it appear or we get critically injured, so we work our way back to the tracks and see the train ahead. With a determined sprint we catch up to it, breathlessly wipe the perspiration from our forehead, and thank the Lord for repentance.

While on the train, we can see the world and some of our own members outside laughing and having a great time. They taunt us and coax us to get off. Some throw logs and rocks on the tracks to try and derail it. Other members run alongside the tracks, and while they may never go play in the woods, they just can’t seem to get on the train. Others try to run ahead and too often take the wrong turn.

I would propose that the luxury of getting on and off the train as we please is fading. The speed of the train is increasing. The woods are getting much too dangerous, and the fog and darkness are moving in.

Although our detractors might as well “stretch forth [their] puny arm[s] to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream” (D&C 121:33) as try to derail this train, they are occasionally successful in coaxing individuals off. With all the prophecies we have seen fulfilled, what great event are we awaiting prior to saying, “Count me in”? What more do we need to see or experience before we get on the train and stay on it until we reach our destination? It is time for a spiritual revival. It is time to dig down deep within ourselves and rekindle our own light.

I make a special appeal to the youth. You will remain much safer and infinitely happier if you will place your energy into current obedience rather than saving it for future repentance. When we are obedient, we establish a base from which the challenges of the future can be addressed.

Illustrated by Richard Hull