What Manner of Men “ought ye to be”
Who are you becoming?
"Even as I am"
A couple of weeks ago I was asked to give a talk in church and to center my talk around, “What Manner of Men,” a talk given in Priesthood session. My cute dad told me I should share what I spoke on so that my brothers could read it, so I decided to post it here and share a bit of my testimony with ya'll too.
This talk was directed to encourage men to be priesthood men. He describes a priesthood man as someone who shows spiritual maturity because he has made covenants. He is humble, teachable and meek. He thinks about the priesthood and is grateful to hold it. He serves both his wife, his children and all those that are around him. He fulfills his callings. He loves God and sees selfishness as the antitheses of his responsibility. He is worthy. In other words he is becoming like the Savior. A man like this sounds incredible to me, and as a woman I certainly don’t want to be left behind! We all individually need to be living up to our end of the bargain as a disciple of Christ. We can all take direction from the talk, “What Manner of Men,” on how to become more like the Savior.
The title of this talk comes from a scripture in the Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 27:27
“And know ye that ye shall be judges of this people, according to the judgment which I shall give unto you, which shall be just. Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.”
We are commanded to be like Christ. I don’t know if there is anything more daunting and at the same time more necessary than to strive to make ourselves emulate the Savior. It can be overwhelming to think of all the things we aren’t doing that are keeping us away from this goal. Perhaps another way to read this is “What manner of men ought ye to become?” Who are we becoming? Are our choices and actions every day leading us in the direction we truly want to be?
In this talk, Elder Donald L. Hallstrom tells a story of being a bishop and meeting with a man who had a troubled relationship with his wife and was estranged from his children. He struggled with employment and keeping close relationships with friends. Finally one day he said, “Bishop, I have a bad temper, and that’s just the way I am.” Elder Hallstrom said this troubled him because when we say “that’s just the way I am?” we give up our opportunity to change. He said, “We might as well raise the white flag, put down our weapons, concede the battle, and just surrender—any prospect of winning is lost. While some of us may think that does not describe us, perhaps every one of us demonstrates by at least one or two bad habits, “That’s just the way I am.”
Imagine if someone at the onslaught of an illness decided, “Well sick is just the way I am now.” That would seem kind of ridiculous wouldn’t it? Why then with our spiritual limitations do we sometimes decide that’s just the way we are? We can all decide to have spiritual healing and stamina so that we can become what our Father in Heaven hopes for us to become.
One of my older brothers has often told me, “Don’t put a period at the end of the sentence of someone else’s life.” After reading this talk I am reminded not to put the period at the end of my own life’s sentence. We are all still becoming. Through the atonement we truly can change and become.
We can put our full trust in the promise that we can always change because the Savior has told us he will never give up on us. His arm is always stretched out, and he stands at the door and knocks. He never decides that the time to become has passed, he is always there.
In 2006 Elder Holland gave a talk entitled “Prophets in the Land,” that says;
“To all of you who think you are lost or without hope, or who think you have done too much that was too wrong for too long, to every one of you who worry that you are stranded somewhere on the wintry plains of life and have wrecked your handcart in the process, this conference calls out Jehovah’s unrelenting refrain, “[My] hand is stretched out still.” 12 “I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them,” He said, “[and even if they] deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, … if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.”
Elder Hallstrom makes three suggestions for a holder of the priesthood of God and I would add a daughter of God.
1. First: Be priesthood men! He says men need to show spiritual maturity because of covenants they have made. We as women need to show spiritual maturity based off of the covenants we too have made. We need to be different. We need to be humble and teachable. We should feel so privileged and so grateful to have the support of the Gospel in our lives as well as the opportunity to help others with this knowledge we have.
2. Second: We need to serve. As a blanketed statement we could all be better at this. We could all look a little closer to see who needs our attention and support at any given time. Just before I gave this talk, Lucy told me a story that her brother told her. He said that while he was in jump training with the 82nd airborne, the soldiers would watch each other jump out of planes and count to four and watch their parachutes open. Drew said after watching many do this, one man went and as he counted to four his chute didn't open. He said all he wanted to do was to jump out there and help him. He then asked how often we see someone struggling or in need do we have the urge to jump out to them and help them. We need to have this striving. (the guy was ok in the end ps) When it comes to service the priesthood provides, I could not be more grateful for the times when a man who holds this sacred responsibility has served me. Over the past couple of years I have often turned to my father for a Fathers blessing. In my darkest moments when I have felt like no peace could be found, a simple blessing has brought more comfort than I can portray.
3. Third: We need to be worthy. He said, “we need to wake up to how commonly accepted practices in the world choke our power in the priesthood.” I would add how commonly accepted practices in the world choke our ability to feel the spirit. We are at a stage in our lives where every decision we make desperately needs the accompaniment of the spirit. We should not for one moment allow ourselves to not be worthy of these blessings.
The men and women we will be is decided both by our choices as well as our circumstances. The Lord allows us to experience trials to refine us so that we can become more like him. If we allow them, our trials can truly shape and refine us. We should not question or shake our fists at God when we are in the middle of a difficult experience. The command is to be as he is. And He has suffered all. Our faithful ability to endure to the end will allow us to reach that heavenly goal.
I really do have a testimony of this Gospel. I know that God loves me and that he loves each of you. He wants us to be happy and provides growth for us in every experience we have in this life. I believe we are all becoming something incredible, and that every day our potential will be unfolded more and more. I am so grateful for the Atonement and that I get to partake of this gift on a daily basis. I know that President Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet of God and that if we are obedient to his words we will reach our ultimate goal in life. I believe families can be together forever and I am overwhelmed with gratitude because of this. I love my Savior and am so grateful for the strength this knowledge allows me.
I say these things in the name of my Savior Jesus Christ,