Thursday, May 30, 2013

To Avoid Walking in Circles

The First Presidency Message from the June 2013 Ensign is from President Deiter F. Uchtdorf. The title is Walking in Circles. It talks about a German psychologist named Jan L. Souman who took people out into the middle of the desert and told them to walk in a strait line. When the experiment was performed on sunny days, the subjects did very well, but when it was cloudy, the subjects invariably ended up walking in circles.

The reason for this difference, according to President Uchtdorf, was the presence or absence of visible landmarks. On sunny days, the subjects could see mountains in the distance, and used those to guide them. On cloudy days, all the subjects could see was an expanse of sand and clouds.

President Uchtdorf made this observation: "Without visible landmarks, human beings tend to walk in circles. Without spiritual landmarks, mankind wanders as well."

He then spoke about scriptures and General Conference talks, and how they provide spiritual landmarks that we can follow. By following the standards, guidelines, and commandments found in the scriptures and General Conference, we will be led in a strait course to Eternal Life. If we ignore those spiritual landmarks, we will wander off-course and end up walking in circles.

Spiritual landmarks are indispensable for keeping us on the straight and narrow path. They give clear direction as to the way we should travel—but only if we recognize them and walk toward them. 
If we refuse to be guided by these landmarks, they become meaningless, decorative masses that have no purpose but to break up the flatness of the horizon.

Even with all the guidance our Heavenly Father offers us, we will still be lost if we don't follow His guidance.  Having scriptures and reading them is not enough. We must learn from them and apply what we learn for them to benefit us. Likewise, going to General Conference and listening to it is not enough. We must internalize the inspired teachings and apply them.

Let us, therefore, open our eyes and see the landmarks our benevolent God has provided to His children. Let us read, hear, and apply the word of God. Let us pray with real intent and listen to and follow the promptings of the Spirit. Once we have recognized the supernal landmarks offered by our loving Heavenly Father, we should set our course by them. We should also make regular course corrections as we orient ourselves toward spiritual landmarks. 
In this way, we will not wander in circles but walk with confidence and certainty toward that great heavenly blessing that is the birthright of all who walk in the straight and narrow way of Christ’s discipleship.

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