President Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke during priesthood session of General Conference on the importance of remaining actively engaged in the Restoration of the gospel.
He told the story of Rip Van Winkle, a fictional character who, through laziness and lack of ambition, fell asleep for 20 years and missed the American Revolution. He drew a parallel to the story by likening it to members of the church and the Restoration.
“Sometimes we think of the restoration of the gospel as something that is complete, already behind us,” President Uchtdorf said. “In reality, the Restoration is an ongoing process; we are living in it.”
He explained that modern developments within the Church continue to prepare the world for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and that it is important for priesthood holders to be an active part of that preparation.
“When our time in mortality is complete, what experiences will we be able to share about our own contributions to … the furthering of the Lord’s work?” he asked. “Will we be able to say that we rolled up our sleeves and labored with all our heart, might, mind and strength? Or will we have to admit that our role was mostly that of an observer?”
He pointed out three major reasons for becoming “sleepy” in building up the kingdom and encouraged those listening to look for ways to improve themselves.
The three reasons he listed were selfishness, addictions and competing priorities, and he promised that each of these stumbling blocks could be overcome by turning to the Savior.
By giving of themselves in service to others, members can fight the lure of selfishness in their lives. In speaking about addictions, President Uchtdorf said they are always easier to prevent than to cure.
“We are sons of the Most High and are endowed with unspeakable potential,” he said. “We are not meant to be shackled to the earth, imprisoned in straitjackets of our own making.”
However, President Uchtdorf also encouraged those who may be grappling with personal addiction that their problems can be overcome through the Atonement.
“Always remember, with the Savior’s help, you can break free from addiction,” he said. “It may be a long, difficult path, but the Lord will not give up on you.”
He said the most important thing for those struggling with addiction to do is to keep trying, even if recovery takes several attempts.
President Uchtdorf concluded by admonishing priesthood holders to “awaken” to the importance of the gospel in their lives.
“There is too much at stake for us as individuals, as families and as Christ’s church to give only a half-hearted effort to this sacred work,” he said. “Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not an effort of once a week or once a day. It is an effort for once and for all.”