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The Inconvenient Messiah
Satan knew this holy structure was the center of religious life for Israel’s people. It was the edifice to which the promised Messiah must come. Many were even at that moment coming and going from their worship, many who through their traditions and disbelief would never accept Jesus as their Redeemer. The temptation to Jesus could be paraphrased this way: “Why not cast yourself down in a dramatic way and then when the angels bear you up, as the scriptures say they must, legions will follow you and believe? They need you. You need them—to save their souls. These are covenant people. How better to help them see than to cast yourself off this holy temple unharmed and unafraid. The Messiah has indeed come.” The temptation here is even more subtle than the first. It is a temptation of the spirit, of a private hunger more real than the need for bread. Would God save him? Would he? Is Jesus to have divine companionship in this awesome ministry he now begins? He knows that among the children of men only suffering, denunciation, betrayal, and rejection lie ahead. But what about heaven? How alone does a Messiah have to be? Perhaps before venturing forth he ought to get final reassurance. And shouldn’t Satan be silenced with his insidious “If—If—If”? Why not get spiritual confirmation, obtain a loyal congregation, and answer this Imp who heckles—all with one appeal to God’s power? Right now. The easy way. Off the temple spire. But Jesus refuses the temptation of the spirit. Denial and restraint are also part of divine preparation. He will gain followers and he will receive reassurance. But not this way. Neither the converts nor the comfort he will so richly deserve has been earned yet. His ministry has hardly begun. The rewards will come by and by. But even the Son of God must wait. The Redeemer who would never bestow cheap grace on others was not likely to ask for any himself. And so I ask you to be patient in things of the Spirit. Perhaps your life has been different from mine, but I doubt it. I have had to struggle to know my standing before God.
The Three R’s of Choice
Brethren, whether we are 12-year-old deacons or mature high priests, we are susceptible. May we keep our eyes, our hearts, and our determination focused on that goal which is eternal and worth any price we will have to pay, regardless of the sacrifice we must make to reach it. No temptation, no pressure, no enticing can overcome us unless we allow such. If we make the wrong choice, we have no one to blame but ourselves. President Brigham Young once expressed this truth by relating it to himself. Said he: “If Brother Brigham shall take a wrong track, and be shut out of the Kingdom of heaven, no person will be to blame but Brother Brigham. I am the only being in heaven, earth, or hell, that can be blamed.” He continued: “This will equally apply to every Latter-day Saint. Salvation is an individual operation.” The Apostle Paul has assured us, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” We have all made incorrect choices. If we have not already corrected such choices, I assure you that there is a way to do so. The process is called repentance. I plead with you to correct your mistakes. Our Savior died to provide you and me that blessed gift. Although the path is not easy, the promise is real: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” “And I, the Lord, remember them no more.” Don’t put your eternal life at risk. If you have sinned, the sooner you begin to make your way back, the sooner you will find the sweet peace and joy that come with the miracle of forgiveness.
Your Greatest Challenge, Mother
Your hearts are all of one kind. You are gathered together because you love the Lord. You have a testimony and conviction concerning His living reality. You pray unto the Father in Jesus’ name. You understand the efficacy of prayer. You are wives and mothers. You are widows and single mothers carrying very heavy burdens. You are newly married women, and you are women who have not married. You are a vast concourse of women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You belong to this great organization, more than four million of you. No one can calculate the tremendous force for good that you can become. You are the keepers of the hearth. You are the managers of the home. Along with Sister Dew, I charge you to stand tall and be strong in defense of those great virtues which have been the backbone of our social progress. When you are united, your power is limitless. You can accomplish anything you wish to accomplish. And oh, how very, very great is the need for you in a world of crumbling values where the adversary seems so very much to be in control.