Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke about Christ’s parable of the sower and how to follow its teachings at the Saturday morning session of the 185th Annual General Conference on April 4.
In the “timeless” teachings of Christ’s parable, disciples learn how to refine their personal lives to prepare to return to live with Heavenly Father, Elder Oaks said.
Elder Oaks said the seeds in the parable are the teachings of Christ. The soil must be prepared to receive the word despite “subtle thorns” or unprepared ground. “The different soils on which the seeds fell represent different ways in which mortals receive these teachings,” he said.
Long-time members without firm and lasting conversion, Elder Oaks said, can develop a “stony ground” for seeds. “Spiritual food is necessary for spiritual survival, especially in a world that is moving away from belief in God and the absolutes of right and wrong,” he said. “We must increase our exposure to spiritual truth in order to strengthen our faith and stay rooted in the gospel.”
Certain soil environments must be avoided to cultivate rich ground and receive spiritual nourishment. These soils include a “keyhole” or a limited view of the gospel, abuse of media, being too paralyzed by fear to move forward and being “spiritually sedated” by cares of the world and riches. Good soil, and ultimately conversion, is achieved through service and consistently living gospel practices, like scripture study and prayer.
“The Savior’s warning against having the cares of this world choke out the word of God in our lives surely challenges us to keep our priorities fixed, our hearts set on the commandments of God and the leadership of his church,” Elder Oaks said. “The suitability of the soil depends upon the heart of each one of us who is exposed to the gospel seed.”