Last April, in the Sunday morning session of general conference, President Russell M. Nelson recounted a conversation with his recently departed daughter that must have been very difficult for him as a parent.
We can only guess the feelings that passed through the mind of a man who had scaled the heights of the medical profession, and who knew he held all the keys of priesthood authority and power granted to man on earth by God, as he looked upon his beloved daughter living the last moments of mortality. His statement about it is profound.
“It was a tender, tearful moment for us. During her 67 years, we worked together, sang together, and often skied together. But that evening, we talked of things that matter most, such as covenants, ordinances, obedience, faith, family, fidelity, love, and eternal life.”
Regarding her passing which came soon after, he added:
“Because of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, we do not worry about her. As we continue to honor our covenants with God, we live in anticipation of our being with her again. Meanwhile, we’re serving the Lord here and she is serving Him there—in paradise.”1
Such is the testimony of complete submission to the will of the Great Creator that both father and daughter had nurtured through a lifetime of devotion to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
How can we aspire to this kind of faith?
Mormon exhorted his people:
“And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope?
“And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of His Resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.
“Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope.
“And again, behold I say unto you that he cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek, and lowly of heart.
“If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart.”2
Humility of character and meekness of spirit are essential attributes of every disciple of Christ. Humility is the fertile soil in which faith flourishes leading to true repentance.
Christ set the example of His own humility by His actions showing He would submit to every commandment of the Father:
“But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments.”3
The Father acknowledged His approval of this act of submission immediately:
“Wherefore, after he was baptized with water the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove.”4
Humility is required of everyone who chooses to come into a covenant relationship with the Father through the entry ordinance of baptism:
“And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism—All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits . . . shall be received by baptism into his church.”5
Alma taught that humility was the defining personal attribute of Melchizedek, the greatest of all men who held the high priesthood of God, and after whom it is named.
“And now, my brethren, I would that ye should humble yourselves before God, and bring forth fruit meet for repentance, that ye may also enter into that rest.
“Yea, humble yourselves even as the people in the days of Melchizedek, who was also a high priest after this same order which I have spoken, who also took upon him the high priesthood forever.”6
Each of us can choose to be humble. It is completely within our personal control. With humility comes the opportunity to learn truth, repent and grow in faith.
Then our hopes for the future ahead of us, like that of our dear prophet and his beloved daughter, and all the great prophets like Enoch, Abraham, Moses, and Joseph Smith before him will always be sure (see Moses 6:26–39; Genesis 18:17–19; Numbers 12:3, 6–8; Doctrine and Covenants 1:17, 24–29).
Joseph W. Sitati was sustained as a General Authority Seventy in April 2009. He is married to Gladys Nangoni; they are the parents of five children.