President's Pen 4-3-17 (Enticed)

As missionaries in the Texas Houston South Mission, we know our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. We do this through our constant efforts to find, teach, invite, retain, and activate God’s children; we love it, we live it, and we do it! “We begin with the End in Mind”, and see God’s children as he does. We are Disciples of Jesus Christ that teach repentance and baptize converts and the best missionaries in the world!

Dear Elders & Sisters,

We love ya!  I hope you enjoyed the wonderful messages from the living prophets and apostles during conference weekend.  We have heard the mind and will of the Lord and now it is up to us to follow the counsel we’ve been given.  “...whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” (D&C 1:38)

As you think about what you learned at conference, have you been sufficiently enticed (persuaded by a promise of something)?  “Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself.  Wherefore man could not act for himself if he was not enticed by the one or the other.”  (2 Ne 2:16) The great plan of happiness is established on the principle of moral agency and choice.  As we use our agency, there are two enticing voices to listen to, one that brings liberty and eternal life and another that brings captivity and death. (2 Ne 2:27) One voice speaks to the heart of the natural man; rewarding passions, pleasures, and appetites, short term rewards, the easy path.  The other voice speaks to our spirit; causing a mighty change of heart, patience, temperance, long term rewards, the harder path.

Mormon understood the nature of the voices that would entice and warned us to recognize the difference, “..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. But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually… “ (Moroni 7:12-13)

As we read these scriptures and recognize for ourselves that one choice is clearly and monumentally better than the other, why is it that the enticing voice of the adversary can be so compelling?  You all know the answer, “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever…”  While this is true, here comes the power of the moral agency we are blessed with, “…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.”  We can be enticed by the adversary, but equally so, we can be enticed by the Spirit, crushing the natural man as we apply the Savior’s Atonement, becoming saints that are willing to give our will to God.

So here we see the formula of how we can be enticed by the voice that brings liberty and eternal life…

·         First, through our faith in Jesus Christ, we use our moral agency to yield, we act.  We give way, surrender and submit our will to God.

·         Second, we listen, and allow our spirit to be persuaded (enticed) by the Holy Ghost.  Why, it is only through the Holy Ghost that a mighty change of heart and miracle conversion comes.

·         Third, our faith in Jesus Christ and the Spirit working within our hearts allows us to “put off” things the natural man is enticed by.  To “put off” is to avoid, evade, or not do something.  This is the great turning away from, the 180, the recalculating route experience we love and know to be the gift of repentance. We “put off” and “put on” a new disposition to do good continually. Our desires, thoughts, behaviors, and actions are changed. 

·         Third and all encompassing in each step, we apply and use the Savior’s Atonement in our lives.  We are saved and redeemed through the merits, mercy and grace of the Savior.  His grace enables us, gives us divine help and strength, and allows us to do things we couldn’t otherwise do.  We are enticed by knowing there is no way back to God, save it be that we come to fully rely and trust in the Savior’s ability to bring us home, even after all we can do. 

·         Fourth, we become as the Savior is.  Christlike attributes begin to possess us; submissiveness, meekness, patience, love etc….  We truly become saints who no longer are enticed by the trappings of the adversary.

So, what was the intent of the enticing’s we heard from living prophets and apostles during conference, the same message Nephi and Jacob shared of old… “For the fulness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved. (1 Ne 6:4)  “Wherefore we labored diligently among our people, that we might persuade them to come unto Christ, and partake of the goodness of God, that they might enter into his rest… Wherefore, we would to God that we could persuade all men not to rebel against God, to provoke him to anger, but that all men would believe in Christ.” (Jacob 1:7-8)

Elders & Sisters, I testify that “every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.”  We have been inspired this weekend to follow the enticing’s that will bring enduring peace and happiness.  I invite you to consider how you can apply your moral agency to act upon your faith in Christ, yield to the enticing’s of the Spirit, repent and “put off” things that hold you back and weigh you down, apply the Savior’s Atonement, and strive to become as you model His attributes.  This was the invitation you received from your Father in Heaven through the voice of His servants during conference.  We will either be enticed by one voice or the other, choose the voice that will allow you to sing the song of redeeming love!  In the Savior’s name, I know these things are true.  Love ya!

President Hall