We continue to live and work during the COVID-19 global pandemic. The loss of human lives and the long recovery periods of many survivors have affected many families in the world. The pandemic has also affected the economies of nations and individuals. We see this intimately in personal and family loss of work and income.
At the same time, the adversary has continued with increased attacks against the family. These times have been ones prophesied to be times of hardening of hearts and engaging in worldly and even sinful pursuits1. But not all is dark and hopeless. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has said, “many in this audience today have deeply personal hopes: hope for a marriage to improve, or sometimes just hope for a marriage; hope for an addiction to be conquered; hope for a wayward child to come back; hope for physical and emotional pain of a hundred kinds to cease. Because the Restoration reaffirmed the foundational truth that God does work in this world, we can hope, we should hope, even when facing the most insurmountable odds.”2
In the words of President Russell M. Nelson, “As followers of Jesus Christ, living in a day when the COVID-19 pandemic has put the whole world in commotion, let us not just talk of Christ or preach of Christ or employ a symbol representing Christ. Let us put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ into action!”3 Our Savior Jesus Christ tells us by the words of living prophets to seek Him and His spiritual blessings. If we seek the fruits of the Spirit, we will find the way to develop unique Christlike attributes that are custom made for our needs and for others. These include love, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance4. I can testify of the light and love that will fill our daily lives as we seek and obtain these attributes. We will then have such joy that we will want to naturally share it with family, friends, and those we associate with.
Clearly the Lord Jesus Christ wants us to be wise in our mortality. That means that, after being instructed in His restored gospel, we will choose the right. We will also be protected, strengthened, and worthy to receive essential priesthood ordinances of salvation and exaltation5.
Once we enter into our Savior’s covenant path, we strive to remain there with the help of others, and, along the way, we also help those within our reach. I remember well those who assisted Sister Martinez and me before, during, and following our baptism. The role of our bishop was vital, as he taught and ministered to us. Brothers and sisters visited us and invited us to serve with them. I was given the opportunity of exercising the priesthood to bless those in need. Sister Martinez was asked to visit and to teach. We received callings in the Church with joy. We looked forward to the time when we would be worthy to go to the temple to receive our own endowments and be sealed together for time and eternity. We also looked forward to having children born in the covenant, sealed to us. We had found what we had to teach them, the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, as we had learned and experienced it ourselves. We looked forward to growing together as an eternal family. It touched our lives and changed us.
Thus, the work of salvation and exaltation of our Savior Jesus Christ is always about looking forward, with an eye single to His glory. We adopt a new culture of the gospel, through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, receiving these essential priesthood ordinances, learning by living the gospel with the companionship and influence of the Holy Ghost, and then we endure to the end. We grow, we change, we become better, as we always look forward to becoming like our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ, so that we may live with them again.
The lessons in life include opposition, as some things cannot be learned otherwise6. The test of mortality is passed just like the one in premortality, by coming unto our Savior, Jesus Christ. Let us submit our will to Him who is powerful to save and exalt us.