Elder Don R. Clarke: Find happiness in pure religion

Bryan Pearson
Elder Don R. Clarke, of the First Quorum of the Seventy, addresses BYU students at the campus Devotional. Elder Clarke outlined the five steps to practicing pure religion. (Bryan Pearson)

Elder Don R. Clarke, of the Quorum of the Seventy, spoke to students at the University Devotional about finding happiness through five steps of pure religion on Jan. 13.

Elder Clarke spoke about the tendency for returned missionaries to strive to find the same spirituality and happiness they felt on their missions. He explained that serving through the five steps of pure religion can help all people achieve greater happiness.

He used passages in the scriptures to outline the ideas and steps of pure religion.  The five steps included caring for and visiting widows, helping orphans, caring for the needy and the poor, helping lambs and helping sheep.

Elder Clarke shared an experience from “John,” a friend and recently returned missionary. John went to a nursing home to serve and hoped to feel the Spirit. He recounted that the experience of visiting the elderly and sharing his testimony helped him feel closer to heaven and those who had passed.

John was able to feel the Spirit and gain happiness by serving those in the nursing home. “They had bright smiles and warm hearts. They were thankful,” Elder Clarke quoted.

Elder Clarke encouraged students to get involved in the Big Brothers and Sisters program in order to reach out and help children who may be struggling.  He recounted his son’s positive experience in the program, which led to the adoption of a child through the organization.

“Nate chose to create an experience where he had the opportunity to help someone besides himself,” Elder Clarke said.
Elder Clarke spoke of a man who was having car trouble when he came across a woman sobbing and in despair kneeling at a gas pump.  He found that the woman needed financial help and was in the process of moving her children across the country to get assistance from her parents. The man helped buy her gas and donated food to her family and soon after found that his car was no longer having trouble.

“Does the Lord trust us to be an answer to someone else’s prayer? Can he count on us to follow the promptings of the Spirit?” Elder Clarke asked. “The more we follow the Spirit’s promptings the more opportunities the Lord will present us with to be the answer to someone else’s prayer.”

Elder Clarke echoed the counsel of President Monson to look out for the youth. “The youth have many temptations like you do,” he said.  “The young lambs are in need of nourishment.”

He continued by emphasizing that the shepherds at Jesus’ birth were accountable for proclaiming the important event. “Are we as the shepherds, trustworthy enough to care for the lambs and the sheep as the Savior has asked us to do?” he asked.

Clarke recounted his family’s tradition to invite their neighbors who did not have Christmas Eve plans to spend the holiday with them. He saw this act of service help those around him and encouraged the students to give what they had.

Elder Clarke closed his remarks with the promise that living the five steps of pure religion would help improve happiness.

“As we practice pure religion by caring for and visiting widows, helping orphans, caring for the poor and needy and helping lambs and sheep we will show Him that we love him!  As we do this we will be happy, feel the Holy Ghost and feel closer to the Savior,” he said.

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