Elder Marlin K. Jensen, of the Seventy, used a tree metaphor in the CES fireside on Sunday, May 6.
Jensen, who served as mission president in the New York, Rochester Mission, which includes the Sacred Grove, shared four lessons which can be learned by observing trees in the grove.
1. Trees always grow toward the light
Jensen said we must seek God’s light in our lives so we can spiritually grow.
“Light is an even more important catalyst in the spiritual realm than it is in nature,” he said. “This is so, because light is essential to our spiritual growth and the realization of our full potential as God’s sons and daughters.”
He said darkness is the absence of light, and if we are not seeking light we will remain in darkness.
“Please, shun darkness,” Jensen said, “and like trees, always seek to grow toward the light.”
2. Trees require opposition to fulfill the measure of their creation
Jensen said trees which are provided with unlimited access to water, light and soil nutrients do not grow as high or as strong as trees which are confronted with the endeavor to acquire them. He said if we face our difficulties in faith, we too grow higher and stronger.
“The list of opposing forces is nearly endless,” Jensen said, “so are the blessings of personal growth and development if we have the faith to take the long view and endure it all well.”
3. Trees are best grown in forests, not in isolation
Jensen said it is unusual to see a tree standing alone, as healthy trees need the presence of other trees in order to thrive. For healthy members of the church to thrive they, like trees, need the presence of other members.
“We are to work out our salvation together,” he said, “not in isolation.”
4. Trees draw strength from the nutrients created by previous generations of trees
Jensen said as living trees are fortified by rich nutrients of trees which lived before them, church members are fortified by the rich legacy of those who lived before them.
“History in its most basic form,” Jensen said, “is a record of people and their lives and from those lives come stories and lessons that can reinforce what we believe, what we stand for and what we should do in the face of adversity.”