Is Jesus Christ Your Influencer?
November 2023

Is Jesus Christ Your Influencer?

I needed to remember to look to the Savior before other influencers.

a woman looking at her phone

General conference really made me think about the influences in my life.

All weekend—between five sessions and Belgian waffles—I thought of the things I consume before turning to the Lord.

I thought of the handful of podcasts I listen to throughout my day. Some podcast hosts tell me what to eat, how to care for my mind and body, and what I should be afraid of. Others teach me how to be productive or “survive my 20s.”

I thought of the dozens of memoirs and self-improvement books in my bookcase that preach the secrets to love and how to be a great spouse or friend.

But most poignant is the influence of those on social media. Without realizing it, I’ve let them become the models for the kind of person I’d like to be.

So, when Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “If we incorrectly imagine that there is a need for something beyond what [the Savior] offers, we deny or diminish the scope and power He can have in our lives,”1 I realized I have often overlooked our most important source for guidance and truth.

Turning to Him First

It’s not that other influences are bad. A lot of what I consume and follow even aligns well with gospel principles. But the problem was turning to these sources before I turned to the Savior when I needed direction or comfort. President Russell M. Nelson also testified that our obsessions offend the Lord when we choose them over Him.2

If we try to make decisions but look for help elsewhere before turning to the Savior, all our experiences won’t help us strengthen our relationship with Him.

All these things we tend to (almost frantically) search for—wellness tips, help for successful relationships, life guidance—I thought I could find in the next love guru or up-and-coming experts on productivity and self-healing.

But what the Savior offers is far better.

He is our only example of perfect love.

His infinite Atonement is more than enough to heal and strengthen us.

His gospel teaches us how to make choices, how to spend our time, what to avoid, what to pursue, and what to emulate.

There is no limit to what we can become through a covenant relationship with Him.

Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, taught that any choice beyond Jesus Christ “will ultimately fail us.”3 So, if we know of the Savior’s perfect example and Atonement, why is it so easy to “look beyond the mark”?4 Why is it so easy for me to forget?

The Savior’s Simplicity

During conference, Elder Renlund told the story of Naaman, who chose not to “rely on his preconceived notions of how the miracle should occur,” even though the command to wash in the river seemed too simple to be miraculous.5

This example reminded me that sometimes the simplicity of the Savior’s path seems misleading, and we mistakenly go searching down more complex avenues.

I think, like Naaman, I’m learning to choose the simple yet perfect power of the Savior to perform miracles in my life. Praying sincerely, listening to the voice of the Spirit, and searching for the Lord’s tender mercies help me to see His influence.

Choosing our Hero

Choosing the Savior means making Him your “hero” before anyone or anything else. Bishop Waddell’s words struck me: “No leader has shown more courage, no humanitarian more kindness, no physician has cured more disease, and no artist has been more creative than Jesus Christ.”6

While I’ll still listen to good influences for help and insights, I won’t forget the “One who stands above all others.”7 Jesus Christ has more power than any other source out there to give me the strength to face life’s challenges and to “fulfill [my] mission in mortality.”8

This conference weekend gave me a new resolve to choose the Savior as my ultimate influencer—to choose to emulate Him above all else.