I Hope You Fail

I remember looking at the red dirt as I walked up a small hill—an oddity in Northern Argentina where everything is flat. I remember the feeling I had for my companion; at the time I might have called it justified disdain, now I realize it was hate.

I remember my companion stopping at the top of that hill and calling me out for my poor attitude. I was embarrassed, because deep down I knew I was out of line. But I was also angry that he dared point that out, so I laid into him verbally, hitting him with everything I could think of.

I’ve felt those same monstrous feelings many times in my life. It’s more than dislike, or intolerance. It’s more than frustration or annoyance. The feeling brings with it the darkness, greater than resentment and disdain. I can call it hate, but that doesn’t quite explain it. Its more than, “I hate you,” it’s more like “I hope you fail.”

Through the Atonement of Christ, I had a change of heart, and by the end of that month we were close friends, and continue to be today. I often reflect on that moment, and have learned many gospel lessons from my weakness.

I spent a lot of my life, treating this existence like a race. The analogy almost fits. There’s a start and a finish, there are lanes (bounds) that we run in, we have coaches and fans cheering us on, and we’ve got to put forth some effort to advance down the track.

But the more I think about it, life is nothing like a race.

In a race, if the guy next to me trips, I have a better shot at winning. His loss is my gain. No, life is nothing like a race.

Christ said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”

Our invitation into heaven has nothing to do with the choices of others. We will be held accountable for our own sins, and it is through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind can be saved. Our qualifying for the saving grace is dependent on our obedience to the principles and participation in the ordinances of the gospel, particularly faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the holy spirit.

If the guy next to me trips—struggles in this existence, it doesn’t increase my chances of making it to one of those mansions. In fact, if I don’t stop and help the guy up, I could find myself in need of repentance for any number of transgressions. We are commanded to love one another. As disciples of Christ we have covenanted to bear up one another’s burdens, and mourn with those that mourn, comfort those that stand in need of comfort.

josephHoping someone fails is more than not helping a neighbor, it’s pushing him down. To root for someone’s failure, exposure, or downfall is obviously unchristian; I think they are similar feelings to those Cain had for Abel, Rueben for Joseph, Saul for David, and so on. Isn’t this feeling the very drive of evil? Doesn’t Satan desire God to fail?

phelpsAnd yet contrast these feelings with those lessons of the righteous like Joseph who after being sold into Egypt, incarcerated, and enslaved, openly forgave his brothers, loved them, and tried to help them out. Joseph Smith had many that hoped for his failure, some of those closest to him, such as W. W. Phelps who he responded in love, “Come on, dear brother, since the war is past, For friends at first, are friends again at last.”

As true Disciples of Christ we ought instead root for the success of others. Rather than push a fellow down, let us pick him up and help him along. Love should be our tool, not envy, charity, not pride, forgiveness, not resentment. I have wronged a good many people in my life. I hope that they are kinder to me than I have been to others.

Dnews 20.CESUchtdorf.0113.chnPresident Uchtdorf stated, “My beloved fellow disciples of the gentle Christ…we must realize that all of God’s children wear the same jersey. Our team is the brotherhood of man. This mortal life is our playing field. Our goal is to learn to love God and to extend that same love toward our fellowman. We are here to live according to His law and establish the kingdom of God. We are here to build, uplift, treat fairly, and encourage all of Heavenly Father’s children.”

If we take a step back and look at God’s plan, we see that at one point in time we were all on the same side. All of us here in this existence that have kept their first estate, waged war against Satan and his followers. In the pre-mortal life we rooted for each other, we helped each other out.

CU040423-006hrI believe that many of us chose to come to this existence, having hope that the Atonement of Christ could save us from physical and spiritual death. Also having faith in Christ that he would fulfill his promise and that through his sacrifice we could be made whole and receive eternal life. And also having charity, love for those around us. Perhaps in that Great War we persuaded those that struggled with the prospect of leaving Father’s presence, dying physically and spiritually, to not worry, because all of us up there would be down here, and we could bind together in families and wards, and communities, and nations, and help one another to keep our second estate.

Life is not a race. We are all on the same team. Please help me to succeed. I hope you succeed.

Covenant Maker, Covenant Keeper

One of the purposes of the Aaronic Preisthood is to prepare to make and keep sacred covenants. I’ve been thinking lately of those covenants I’ve made and have been asking myself the following question.

I am a covenant maker, am I a covenant keeper?

It was with that in mind as I listened to the sessions of General Conference and counted some 84 times that I heard covenants mentioned. Here is a list of the quotes I found most helpful.

Eyring“Whoever you are and wherever you may be, you hold in your hands the happiness of more people than you can now imagine. Every day and every hour you can choose to make or keep a covenant with God.”

– President Henry B. Eyring

“Wherever you are on the path to inherit the gift of eternal life, you have the opportunity to show many people the way to greater happiness. When you choose whether to make or keep a covenant with God, you choose whether you will leave an inheritance of hope to those who might follow your example.”

– President Henry B. Eyring

“You may be the first in your family to lead the way to eternal life along the path of sacred covenants made and kept with diligence and faith. Each covenant brings with it duties and promises. For all of us…those duties are sometimes simple but are often difficult. But remember, the duties must sometimes be difficult because their purpose is to move us along the path to live forever with Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in families.”

 – President Henry B. Eyring

“Keeping our second estate depends on our making covenants with God and faithfully performing the duties they require of us. It takes faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior to keep sacred covenants for a lifetime.”

 – President Henry B. Eyring

“The greatest of all the blessings of God, eternal life, will come to us only as we make covenants offered in the true Church of Jesus Christ by His authorized servants.”

– President Henry B. Eyring

This plan is marked by covenants with God. It is our free choice whether we make and keep those covenants.

– President Henry B. Eyring

By revelation, Eve recognized the way home to God. She knew that the Atonement of Jesus Christ made eternal life possible in families. She was sure, as you can be, that as she kept her covenants with her Heavenly Father, the Redeemer and the Holy Ghost would see her and her family through whatever sorrows and disappointments would come. She knew she could trust in Them.

– President Henry B. Eyring

Wixom“We are covenant-making women of all ages walking the path of mortality back to His presence. Keeping covenants protects us, prepares us, and empowers us.

As we strive to keep our covenants, our feelings of inadequacy and imperfection begin to fade, while the ordinances and the covenants of the temple come alive. Everyone is welcome to walk that path to eternal life.”

– Rosemary M. Wixom

Hales

 

“To rationalize disobedience does not change spiritual law or its consequences but leads to confusion, instability, wandering in strange paths, being lost, and grief. As disciples of Christ, we have a sacred obligation to uphold His laws and commandments and the covenants which we take upon ourselves.”

– Elder Robert D. Hales

 

 

Hallstrom“We need to be priesthood men! Whether we are young men holding the Aaronic Priesthood or men bearing the Melchizedek Priesthood, we need to be priesthood men, showing spiritual maturity because we have made covenants.

Receiving the priesthood and its various offices should mean something to us. It should not be a perfunctory “rite of passage” that automatically happens at certain ages but a sacred act of covenant thoughtfully made.”

– Elder Donald L. Hallstrom

Stevenson

 

“Self-discipline is needed. Daily prayer, scripture study, and church attendance must be the foundation of your training.  A consistent pattern of obeying the commandments, keeping the covenants you have made, and following the Lord’s standard found in For the Strength of Youth is required.”

– Bishop Gary E. Stevenson

 

 

Burton“We are to lay aside the things of [the] world, cleave unto our covenants, and come unto Christ and follow Him. That’s what disciples do! As we try our best to move forward along the covenant path, we become more complete and perfect in this life.

The best way to strengthen a home, current or future, is to keep covenants, promises we’ve made to each other and to God.

– Linda K. Burton

Oscarson

 

“We are members of the Lord’s Church, and regardless of our individual circumstances, we can all enjoy the full blessings of priesthood power through keeping the covenants we have made at baptism and in the temple.”

– Bonnie L. Oscarson

Bednar

“Making and keeping sacred covenants yokes us to and with the Lord Jesus Christ. Covenants received and honored with integrity and ordinances performed by proper priesthood authority are necessary to receive all of the blessings made available through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”

– Elder David A. Bednar

 

 

Packer

 

“We do not always know how or when blessings will present themselves, but the promise of eternal increase will not be denied any faithful individual who makes and keeps sacred covenants.”

– President Boyd K. Packer

 

 

 

Corbridge

 

“Marriage and family are not conventions of men until only death do us part. They are intended to be made eternal through covenants we make with God. The family is the pattern of heaven.”

– Elder Lawrence E Corbridge