How to Be a Good Mormon

I want to talk about something a little different. In 3 Ne. 27:27, the Savior asks, “What manner of men ought ye to be?” His answer is that we should be perfect. He says, “Verily I say unto you, even as I am.”

What does it look like to be like Jesus Christ?

The next question is, “If we are supposed to be like Jesus Christ, then what does that look like?” Let’s look at a couple scriptures to see what kind of man He is.

In John Chapter 13, we learn that the Savior served others:

6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?

7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.

8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

In 2 Nephi 31:16–17 we read about His baptism:

16 And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.

17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.

So, we need to be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and be perfect.

Yes, He says that we should be perfect, but we know that is not possible, for compared to him, we are nothing. Elder Shayne M. Bowen talks about what he calls a Moses Moment. “As we read in Moses 1:10 you’ll remember that Moses was shown the creation of the world and all that God had created and then he also said and then I realized man is nothing which thing I never had supposed.” Elder Bowen continues, “I think I supposed early on that I was nothing and I think that God gives us those opportunities to grow. To be nothing means that compared to the awesome power of our Heavenly Father, we are nothing. Later in the chapter that Elder Bowen quoted we read, that it is our ”[Father’s] work and…glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.“ For being ”nothing” the Lord sure devotes a lot (Yes, His entire existence) to providing us with eternal life.

That verse teaches us that to be like Christ, we must be humble and recognize that we are nothing without His atonement.

Natural Man

In other words, we need to strive every day to be like our Savior, knowing that we will make mistakes. For how can we possibly be like the Savior when we are natural men? In Mosiah 3:19 we read

19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

Enticings

Let’s look at a couple points in this scripture. This scripture emphasizes again that compared to our Father in Heaven, we are nothing. But, it gives a specific blueprint of how to get back to Him and His good graces. We need to yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit. How can we yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit? We must be worthy of those whisperings.

The Lord says in 2nd Nephi 2:16

Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.

There are enticings from the Spirit, and we cannot act for ourselves without being enticed to do good or to do evil. When we are baptized and have the gift of the Holy Ghost, we are privileged to have the constant enticings of the Spirit.

Through the Atonement

The bible dictionary teaches us that “the purpose of atonement is to correct or overcome the consequences of sin.” The whole reason for Christ to come to this Earth was so that he could fulfill His Father’s goal of bringing to pass the eternal life of man. He came to this earth to atone for our sins, which He knew we would have. We will sin, no matter how righteous we think we are, we will sin.

And that is OK, because Christ atoned for our sins.

Now, the bishop probably doesn’t want to hear that it is OK to sin, but it is. It is part of who we are. If we make a mistake, that is acceptable because Christ died for our right to make bad choices. Now, please don’t assume that I am giving you permission to live a life that you know is not right. I am certainly not doing that. What I am giving you permission to do is to repent of those sins and become the person that our Heavenly Father knows you can become.

It is all about doing our best and trying our hardest. It is not about being perfect. If you think you need to be perfect, you are missing the point. You need to strive towards perfection, but you will not attain it in this life.

Becometh as a Child

The words “submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, [and] willing to submit” suggest a way of life that is seen in the temple. When you are in the temple, there is no ego, there is no haughtiness. Everyone is dressed in white clothes. Everyone seems patient and humble. Everyone acts like you are the greatest person there when they see you. Because when you “become as a child” you are the greatest person in the world, because you are more like the Savior.

The Temple

So, what does all this talk of being imperfect have to do with the temple? The temple is the best barometer that you can have of whether or not you are living your life the way the Lord wants us to. If you worthily hold a temple recommend, and attend the temple, you are telling the Lord that you are worthy to return to Him. Do you realize how amazing that is?

President Thomas S. Monson said, “I think there is no place in the world where I feel closer to the Lord than in one of His holy temples.” (https://www.lds.org/church/temples/why-we-build-temples/blessings-of-the-temple?lang=eng)

Do you ever wonder if your boss at work thinks you are doing a good job? Do you kids ever wonder if your parents or teachers think you are doing a good job? Do you ever wonder if your spouse thinks you are a good spouse?

You never need to wonder if your God thinks you are doing a good job. How amazing is that? He has put in place a system to know if you are living right. He wants you to know how to return to Him, and not only provides a way, but provides a way for every single person who ever lived in the world to get back to Him. And every person can know that at any time if they have one of these, that they are living worthily.

In the conference talk, “Coming to Ourselves, The Sacrament, the Temple, and Sacrifice in Service”, Elder Robert D. Hales talks about the importance of holding a temple recommend.

“Worthiness to hold a temple recommend gives us the strength to keep our temple covenants. How do we personally gain that strength? We strive to obtain a testimony of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, the reality of the Atonement, and the truthfulness of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Restoration. We sustain our leaders, treat our families with kindness, stand as a witness of the Lord’s true Church, attend our Church meetings, honor our covenants, fulfill parental obligations, and live a virtuous life. You may say that sounds like just being a faithful Latter-day Saint! You are right. The standard for temple recommend holders is not too high for us to achieve. It is simply to faithfully live the gospel and follow the prophets.”

Let me repeat that last line again, “The standard for temple recommend holders is not too high for us to achieve. It is simply to faithfully live the gospel and follow the prophets.”

Elder Russell M. Nelson counsels us,

“The attributes by which we shall be judged one day are all spiritual. These include love, virtue, integrity, compassion, and service to others. Your spirit, coupled with and housed in your body, is able to develop and manifest these attributes in ways that are vital to your eternal progression. Spiritual progress is attained through the steps of faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, including the endowment and sealing ordinances of the holy temple.”

And really, if you think about it, every other important part of your life is based on our spiritual attributes. The Rabbi Daniel Lappin says that every job interview is based on finding spiritual attributes of the prospective employee. When you are trying to find a job, you are seeking out a workplace that has similar spiritual attributes to yours. When you find friends, you are looking for those same spiritual attributes. Since spiritual progress is attained through enduring to the end and attending the temple, it can only help you to have that on your side.

If you do not have a temple recommend, get one. Schedule a meeting with the Bishop and get one. If you aren’t worthy to have a recommend, repent. The Lord will accept your repentance because He LOVES you. His whole purpose is to make sure you get back to Him, so make sure you repent.

Never Eat Alone

Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time is a book about building relationships to be successful. Keith Ferrazzi claims that the secret to the success is building relationships. I feel like most successful people who give advice to help others be successful agree with this sentiment. When we think about the most successful person ever, we know that He built relationships with others to convert them to a testimony of His divine nature.

Ferrazzi goes through four parts:

  1. The Mind-Set
  2. The Skill Set
  3. Turning Connections into Compatriots
  4. Trading up and Giving Back

And each part has chapters that relate to each of them. One of the fascinating parts of the book are the “Connectors’ Hall[s] of Fame” where Ferrazzi highlights a famous “connector” who excelled at making good relationships. They pretty much exemplify the traits about which Ferrazzi speaks in the surrounding chapters.

The “Connector’s Hall of Fame” piece that was most interesting was Katharine Graham. She took over the Washington Post after her husband died and went on to make the Washington Post one of the greatest newspapers in the country. She went after Nixon over Watergate and published the Pentagon Papers Ferrazzi notes that she was successful because she was genuine with everyone she met. She had no ulterior motives. She wanted to be friends with people for the friendship, not anything else. This is one of the principles that is woven throughout the book. Ferrazzi constantly talks about being genuine and real, and helping others.

The great Connector was, of course, Jesus Christ. He loved people regardless of their views of Him or others. He was always willing to help other people regardless of their circumstance. When the woman who was taken in adultery was brought before Him, He did not condemn her. He loved her as the daughter of God that she was. Many may wonder why He would forgive her willingly, and yet cast the money-changers out of the temple in righteous indignation. He did this because He loves all men and women, and He cares about them as sons and daughters of God. He realizes what peoples’ desires are. And if they are willing to believe in and follow Him, He accepts them as they are. If they aren’t willing to follow Him, He still loves them and strives to teach them.

The Mind-Set

One of my favorite quotes from this book is, “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” People often talk about dreamers as if that is a bad thing, but I certainly don’t think it is. As Latter-day Saints, we understand the importance of dreaming. The scripture we have probably read the most is in the beginning of the Book of Mormon. Lehi is a dreamer. Nephi always saw a vision and dreamed of making it to the promised land, which he did achieve.

The other aspect of dreaming that makes the Mormon church so great is that we dream of a life that is better than this life and eternal! We don’t believe that anyone but the very worst of us will get anything after this life that is not better than this life. There is a myth that Joseph Smith said that we would kill ourselves to get to the telestial kingdom. While it is doubtful that he really said that, we do believe that “the glory of the telestial…surpasses all understanding. Yet, that is also the place that we consider where they are who are “thrust down to hell”. If the glory of hell surpasses all understanding, then it sounds like maybe that isn’t so bad!

The Skill Set

The Mormon church is known for it’s missionaries that go around the world, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to people all day, every day, for two years. One of the key pieces of their success is finding a way to connect with anyone they can, in any way they can. This is part of what makes them successful. They are totally focused on spreading the good word, and they find a way to do that in any way possible. Certainly, eating with people is one way they do it, but they also do service, knock on doors, ask people who they know that might benefit from their message, and sometimes they just walk down the street and find people outside that need help.

In this section, Ferrazzi gives tons of great advice, but he also discusses the title of his book: Never Eat Alone. This section emphasizes that skill, and many others. He suggests that you find ways to meet with people whenever and wherever you can. By doing that, you can essentially make sure that you are connecting with the right people and connecting with many people every day. He isn’t just talking about eating with people, but also finding every possible way he can to build relationships with those that he needs to know. One thing that I did recently was sign up for an event just so that I could take a few of my employees to it, just so that we could spend time together away from work. The event was fun, but it was so much better to spend time with my employees and let them know that they were valuable to me (at least I hope they felt that way).

Turning Connections into Compatriots

“The only way to get people to do anything is to recognize their importance and thereby make them feel important. Every person’s deepest lifelong desire is to be significant and to be recognized” (163). Ferrazzi here helps inform one of the greatest beliefs that we have: each of us is a child of God. Not only are we all children of God, but we are also capable of becoming like Him. If that doesn’t fill us with a sense of being important, I don’t know what will. When you remind people that they are important, you are reminding them that they are children of God, and able to become like Him one day. That is so powerful. If you can do that in a way that is not preachy or pushy, but rather inviting, building relationships with others will not only come naturally, but people will flock to you because of how you make them feel. No matter what industry we are in, we can help people feel that way.

Trading up and giving back.

One of the key things we can do to expose ourselves to others and gain notoriety is to write. Ferrazzi recommends writing articles for publications, like newspapers or magazines. But we as Latter-day Saints have mostly been commanded to write in journals.

This Mormonad quotes President Henry B. Eyring who urges us to write down the spiritual experiences we have:

…Just as I got to the door, I heard in my mind—not in my own voice—these words: “I’m not giving you these experiences for yourself. Write them down.”
I went inside. I didn’t go to bed. Although I was tired, I took out some paper and began to write. And as I did, I understood the message I had heard in my mind. I was supposed to record for my children to read, someday in the future, how I had seen the hand of God blessing our family. O Remember, Remember

One of the reasons we write things down is to help tell the positive stories. President Kimball suggested that we write down the truth, but not focus on the negative (Discover Yourself: Keep a Journal).

Focusing on the positive is one sure-fire way to help yourself remember the good things you experience and experience more good things.

Conclusion

This is a great read if you are looking for ways to build relationships with others. I didn’t find anything that didn’t line up with what is already taught starting in primary.

Another Way to Find Happiness

The Good and the Bad

We all have our good days and bad days. What if you could find a way to make it so you had fewer bad days and more good days? Would you take advantage of that? Or do you think that things are how they are and there is not much that you can do about it?

In Moroni 7:12, we read,

12 Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.

13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

Understanding where good things come from gives us some insight into how we can make our lives and the lives of others better. If we think back to the purpose of our Father’s eternal life it is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” Moses 1:39. If that is His purpose, and anything good comes from Him, and only Him, it is safe to assume that “good” things will get us back to Him, and will help others get back to Him.

Another tenet of the Savior’s life was that we should do to others what we would like them to do to us. If we are striving to be like our Savior, then our goal for others is to help them achieve immortality and eternal life. If we would like others to help us attain that lofty goal, we should help them achieve it as well.

How Full is Your Bucket?

In the book How Full is Your Bucket Tom Rath and Donald Clifton talk about the importance of positive (good) emotions and interactions. They state that negative emotions can account for a loss of at least $250-$300 billion a year, in just the United States.

The book is about how every positive interaction a person has puts an effectual drop in her bucket. At the end of the day, her self-worth is tied to the level of the water in her bucket. When that bucket is drained, so is she. When that bucket is full, so is she. The bucket doesn’t start at the same level every day. It builds a reserve of whatever emotions the person feels each day. Rath shares how his family’s persistence in filling his bucket saved his life when he found out about the rare form of cancer he contracted. Treatment requires twice-yearly MRIs and CT scans to identify cancer cells that could pop up randomly anywhere in his body. When he was growing up, his family focused intensely on filling his bucket, and when the life and death cancer diagnosis appeared when he was only 16, those positive interactions helped him survive the news, and the cancer.

In our interactions with others, we should have a ratio of five positive interactions for every one negative interaction. Since negative interactions do more arm than positive interactions do good, we need to make sure that our positive interactions outweigh our negative. The ratio of 5:1 keeps our buckets filled sufficiently and helps those we interact with have enough positive emotion in the bank they can handle the negative emotions.

When we are dealing with other people, it is easy to let our own negative emotions cloud our vision and make us think they deserve a negative interaction from us. But this is where having an eternal view is important. If we understand that not only is this person a son or daughter of our Heavenly Father, but he or she is also the subject of His focus to get them back to Him, it becomes much easier to have empathy and compassion for that person. We can more easily give him the benefit of the doubt, and find a way to have a positive interaction with him. It is not always easy, especially when someone is really bothering you, but it is almost always the right thing to do.

Rath talks about a study done in 1925 which looked at the success of students who were given positive praise about their test scores compared with students who were given negative feedback. The study showed that the group that received positive praise improved 71% on the next test, while those who received negative feedback improved only 19%. Those who were ignored completely, grew by 5%. If all it takes to make students (and those we interact with) successful is positive praise, then why don’t we do it more often?

The Beatitudes

In Matthew 5, we read about the Savior going from a vengeful, jealous God to a God of love, peace, kindness, service, and giving. What He teaches is what we want to learn and be able to do. The Savior tells us to go have a positive interaction with someone we are mad at before coming to Him to worship. He wants us to come to him with “positive emotions” (as Rath and Clifton would say it).

The rest of the Beatitudes are similar in that the Lord asks us to go to great lengths to provide for others before ourselves, to go the extra mile, and to forgive deeply.

The Lord also commanded us to treat others how we want to be treated. When we fill others’ buckets, our bucket gets filled as well. We may find that filling others’ buckets is the only way to fill our bucket some days.

The Upper Limit

There is one area where Jesus Christ and Rath differ, and that is on the upper limit of doing good. Christ says that we should forgive until seventy times seven times Rath and Clifton recommend bringing negative emotions in at a ratio of less than 13:1. They say it is quite difficult, however to reach that upper limit.

Most of us have grown up in a culture in which it’s much easier to tell people what they did wrong instead of praising them when they succeed. Although this negativity-based approach might have evolved unintentionally, it nevertheless permeates our society at all levels.

Good News

Those who believe in Jesus Christ’s Gospel, probably have the greatest reason to be optimistic and positive in their lives. We believe that the Gospel is “good news”. Being able to base our lives on the Good News, and then being able to focus on the good things the Savior provides for us, gives us every reason to have a nearly limitless supply of positive emotions.

We can use the ideas in the scriptures and in the book “How Full is Your Bucket” to help us lighten the loads of others, and also bring much happiness to our lives.

SSA

A Troublesome Topic

The idea of SSA, or Same Sex Attraction, is pretty much everywhere right now. There is much that is debatable about the issues surrounding homosexuality and SSA. Do people have SSA (as if it were a skin color)? Are people same-sex attracted? Are people born with it? Is it nature or nurture that “causes it”?

There are a few things that are not debatable. Matthew 22:37-40 says “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

We are all children of our Heavenly Father. If there is no common ground between anyone, this is the common ground upon which to base all our discussions. We cannot forget that.

There is no room in this argument for hateful, vile speech. There is no basis for arguments which state that God does not love all His children.

I have a daughter with Down Syndrome. She is a wonderful little girl who brings joy to my life. She happens to have a chromosome disorder; she’s got an extra one. That means that she is different than my other kids. But they have things that make them unique also. She is different than many other kids. That also makes her the subject of jokes, ridicule, mean actions, and more. It also makes her an object of envy, hope, and acceptance. Because of her syndrome, I have learned a much greater compassion for all people, whatever strengths or weaknesses they have. She has taught me patience with myself, with others, and with her. She has taught me that every single person on this earth is a beloved son or daughter of our Heavenly Father first and foremost. And because we are all His children, we are also brothers and sisters. That knowledge makes it a lot easier to love and accept people the way Christ would have us love and accept them. There is no harm in loving others, regardless of our feelings towards how they behave, or what they do.

As we read in Alma 39, Alma’s son Corianton has forsaken his calling as a missionary and sought a harlot in another city. As we read below, Alma was incredibly disappointed in his son. Yet, you can tell as you read the next three chapters that Alma loves his son, and wants him to know that God loves him, too, despite his wayward ways.

7And now, my son, I would to God that ye had not been guilty of so great a crime. I would not dwell upon your crimes, to harrow up your soul, if it were not for your good.
8 But behold, ye cannot hide your crimes from God; and except ye repent they will stand as a testimony against you at the last day.
9 Now my son, I would that ye should repent and forsake your sins, and go no more after the lusts of your eyes, but cross yourself in all these things; for except ye do this ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. Oh, remember, and take it upon you, and cross yourself in these things.

Then, just a few verses later, Alma tells Corianton that even though Corianton committed almost the worst possible sin, Christ would come to save all men from their sins.

15 And now, my son, I would say somewhat unto you concerning the coming of Christ. Behold, I say unto you, that it is he that surely shall come to take away the sins of the world; yea, he cometh to declare glad tidings of salvation unto his people.

Truly, Christ’s atonement extends to all men and women. All.

Our Heavenly Father loves all his children, and he commands that we do the same. This FairLDS conference presentation about homosexuality and desire really opened my eyes.

The gist of the presentation is that the Church stands against behaviors, which makes sense, of course, when we look at other behaviors, like adultery, alcoholism, pornography, etc. There is no problem having thoughts or feelings about something, but there is a problem acting on those thoughts or feelings. A person with SSA can be attracted to same-gendered people, but not act on it. Just like I was attracted to the head cheerleader in high school, and I never acted on it. Being attracted isn’t the problem. The problem is acting on those feelings.

I remember a quote from when I was in High School that went, “Satan puts many thoughts into our mind. It is our responsibility to get them out.” I don’t know who said that, but that is important to remember. We need to be aware of the dangers of letting sinful thoughts linger in our minds. It is just as wrong to covet our neighbor’s wife as it is to lust after a member of the same sex. God does not want us lusting after others. In this singular respect, there is really no differentiation between the sexes we lust after–we shouldn’t do it.

A More Real Problem for SSA Mormons

Johanson states that part of the problem he faces as a SSA-male is that he doesn’t want intimate relationships with other men, and is perfectly happy living in an intimate relationship with his wife, with whom he has a son. The agenda that is pushed by others seek to vilify him for going against what he is, or stating that he is being pressured in to living a lie. He claims that is just not true.

His presentation is a great read. It is quite long, but he goes into great depth about many of the issues surrounding SSA and being a Mormon.

Regardless of our stance on these issues, I go back to the idea that we are all our Heavenly Father’s children, and He will be the ultimate judge, with our help. Alma 41:7 shows that we are going to be our own judges:

7 These are they that are redeemed of the Lord; yea, these are they that are taken out, that are delivered from that kendless night of darkness; and thus they stand or fall; for behold, they are their own judges, whether to do good or do evil.

Regardless of what “side” we are on, we will also be judged according to our desires.

3 And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good.
4 And if their works are evil they shall be restored unto them for evil. Therefore, all things shall be restored to their proper order, every thing to its natural frame-mortality raised to immortality, corruption to incorruption-raised to endless happiness to inherit the kingdom of God, or to endless misery to inherit the kingdom of the devil, the one on one hand, the other on the other-
5 The one raised to happiness according to his desires of happiness, or good according to his desires of good; and the other to evil according to his desires of evil; for as he has desired to do evil all the day long even so shall he have his reward of evil when the night cometh. Alma 41:3-6

It is vital that as we strive to take a stand for what is right, we remember that the discussion is not one-sided, that even those who are attracted to the same gender have different beliefs about what constitutes happiness. As Johanson says clearly:

I am not tempted by females. I am tempted by males. Therefore I have SSA. However, desire is different. My desire is to be faithful to my wife and son. Elder Maxwell taught “The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar.” My will is mine and mine alone to give, and I decide where I give it. It was not predetermined at birth. The scriptures are filled with stories of people who have turned their will over to God. I am the captain of my soul, and no study on genetics, Supreme Court ruling, or media sound bites can take that away from me. I am here to act, and not to be acted upon. Johanson

Desires matter more than temptations. This is a touchy subject. I’d love to hear your comments on it.

Linchin by Seth Godin

I recently came across one of the books of one of the most influential writers of our generation, Seth Godin’s Linchpin. In it, he describes what it takes to become someone that not only can’t be fired, but also can’t be sidelined, because that person is too important. I buy into the idea that some people are great, and that some people can be even greater. There comes a time, when you must recognize the hand of God in your life and good fortunes.

Usually, Godin talks about marketing and sales, products and increasing profits, but this book is about working on you as the person. That also just happens to be one of the missions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Perfecting the Saints. What Godin talks about in this book is one of the basic beliefs that we all learn as children. We have a purpose. It is higher than us, and God, is an example to us because we can be like Him.

One of my favorite scriptures of all time is in Moses 1:39:

 

For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

 

What I love about this scripture is that the Lord is telling us that His whole goal is to help us obtain eternal life. Now, if we were just a bunch of mindless drones, pawns in His cosmic chess game, would He care enough to make it is His personal mission to “bring to pass [our] immortality and eternal life?” I think not!

The primary song “I am a Child of God” teaches us a valuable lesson as well about our heritage, and what we can become. Being a child of God means that we are like Him. We are like our Father in Heaven. That is amazing. We were not born to be something less than a powerful immortal being. In fact, we can become like Him.

 

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. John 3:2

 

We will one day, if we live worthy, be like our Savior. That is a true blessing from Him. But, it will not be easy, and it will not come to every man. We must take sacrifice, and do certain things to be worthy to be in His presence again.

 

Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—Mosiah 18:9.

 

I’ve only read the first few pages of this book, but the tagline for Linchpin, is “Are you indispensable?” To put that in spiritual terms, we could ask, “Are you like Him?” On page 6 of his book, Godin says,

 

You weren’t born to be a cog in a giant industrial machine. You were trained to become a cog. There’s an alternative available to you. Becoming a linchpin is a stepwise process, a path in which you develop the attributes and make you indispensable. You can train yourself to matter.

 

Godin posits that we are much more than we give ourselves credit for. We can become indispensable to our organization. But it is so much more than that. We can become indispensable to our Heavenly Father, if we do one little thing:

 

19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. Mosiah 3:19

 

We need to put off the natural man. The natural man is summed up pretty well in Godin’s words below.

 

The key piece of leverage was this promise: follow these instructions and you don’t have to think. Do your job and you don’t have to be responsible for decisions. Most of all, you don’t have to bring your genius to work.

 

In every corporation and every country in the world, people are waiting to be told what to do. Sure, many of us pretend that we both to have control and authority and dipping our humanity to work. But given half a chance, we give it up, in a heartbeat. (9)

 

It is easy to do the easy stuff. It is easy to be weak. It is easy to not believe that we can be something more. But we can, and we must. Here’s how Godin describes it:

 

Linchpins are the essential building blocks of tomorrow’s high-value organizations. They don’t bring capital or expensive machinery, nor do they blindly follow instructions merely contribute labor. Linchpins are indispensable, the driving force of our future. (20)

 

And really, what we were taught in primary is that we can become like our Heavenly Father. That what He has, can be ours. That we can have eternal life and immortality, because that is, after all, His mission.

Linchpins are what Godin describes as indispensable. He says, “The only way to get what you’re worth is to stand out, to exert emotional labor, to be seen as indispensable, and to produce interactions that organizations and people care deeply about.”

It is one thing for us to do something that organizations and people care about, but it is another thing entirely to live our lives in such a way that the things we do for others are how we show our devotion to God. When we are devoted to Him, we become indispensable in His plan. That is is the only one that matters.

What other insights do you have?