Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shared five messages on Tuesday that he said “all of God’s children need to hear.”
The Apostle’s talk was the keynote address at Brigham Young University’s five-day Education Week (August 16–20, 2021), a yearly education program for adults that offers more than 1,000 classes on its campus in Provo, Utah. Elder Uchtdorf spoke Tuesday morning from the Marriott Center.
His five messages are summarized below.
First: Move Toward the Light
Elder Uchtdorf, a native of Germany, former airline captain and senior executive with Lufthansa, compared the light of the sun he saw while piloting jets to the light of God that every person needs.
“Whether I traveled west or east, the sun never changed course,” Elder Uchtdorf said. “It held its position, steadfast in the heavens, providing warmth and light to the earth. My access to that warmth and light depended on my location, direction and speed.”
When we feel darkness, he said, “we can be assured that God, like the sun, is always there. When we incline our hearts to Him, He embraces us and fills our souls with light, warmth, knowledge and guidance.”
Second: You Are Better Than You Think You Are
What do Fred Astaire (a famous American dancer), Walt Disney, Vincent van Gogh and heroes of the Hebrew Bible such as Gideon, Jeremiah, Moses and Enoch have in common?
Each was, at one time, considered by others or themselves to be average and unremarkable.
“God does not need people who are flawless,” Elder Uchtdorf said. “He will take your talents and abilities and multiply them — even though they may seem as scarce as a few loaves and fishes. If you trust Him and are faithful, He will magnify your words and actions and use them to bless and minister to multitudes!”
Third: Learn to Love God and Your Neighbor
The Apostle shared a “two-point diagnostic exam,” rooted in Matthew 22:34–40, to help anyone be a better parent, be happier and be a better disciple of the Christ.
“Love God [and] love your neighbor,” Elder Uchtdorf said. “Yes, we cherish all the principles of the gospel. We ‘live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.’ And yet, we must always remember that ‘all the law and the prophets’ point to the two great commandments. This is the bullseye of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the foundation of who we are as His followers.”
Fourth: Conflict Is Inevitable. Contention Is a Choice
Contention is one way people choose to respond to conflict, Elder Uchtdorf said. Importantly, he added, “we can choose a better way. … Let us emulate the gentle Christ. And we do that through learning to love God and reaching out to bless others. Yes, there will still be conflict. But our all-powerful Father in Heaven has promised that He will fight our battles for us.”
Fifth: Our Heavenly Father Is a God of New Beginnings
“As long as we mortals live on this wonderful and beautiful planet, we will make mistakes. Our human actions and failures may even hurt, wound and damage the Earth, our habitat—God’s perfect creation,” Elder Uchtdorf said.
Importantly, the door to change is always open. Our God is “the God of new beginnings. … [He] yearns for you to come to Him. His mercy is sufficient to heal your wounds, inspire you to move forward, cleanse you of sin, strengthen you for trials to come, and bless you with hope, wisdom and His peace. If you desire it with all your heart, God will guide you through this mortal life, and He will wait with open arms to embrace you in the resurrection. No matter our shortcomings, no matter our flaws, God can heal, inspire, and cleanse us.”
“Like you,” Elder Uchtdorf concluded, “I am a poor pilgrim who strives imperfectly to walk the path of discipleship and who hopes to fulfill the great desire of our Heavenly Father — to return to Him and live ‘in a state of never-ending happiness.’ That you may find hope, strength, and joy in your journey, that you may find God and love him with all your heart, and strive to bless the lives of others — this is my prayer and blessing.”