Strangers and pilgrims on the earth: Barry M. Willardson


Department of chemistry professor Barry M. Willardson shared how the vastness of the universe points to Heavenly Father and people’s divine purpose.

Willardson started his address referring to the hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe and asked a question: “Are we truly strangers and pilgrims on the earth, and is there more to our existence than meets the eye?”

Moses was shown the vastness of the universe and the countless worlds. Willardson shared how this caused Moses to recognize that man is nothing. Willardson wonders if people do not feel the same at times.

“Perhaps we also feel a sense of insignificance when attempting to fathom the vastness of creation,” he said.

Willardson continued with Moses’ vision and explained that God revealed the purpose of his creations.

“God reveals that the purpose of this vast creation is for us, for our happiness, for our eternal progression,” WIllardson said. “One of the most essential truths of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is that we are spirit children of the great Creator himself and we call him Father because that is our true relationship to him. Knowing this explains why he created all these things for us.”

Referring to another vision in the scriptures, Willardson shared that Abraham saw people’s purpose on this earth.

“We are here to learn to trust in God to the point that we do whatever he asks, and in so doing we become as he is,” Willardson said.

Through personal experiences while serving a mission and coping with the death of his brother years later, Willardson stated that the testimony of the Spirit is very powerful.

“I do not know how the Spirit of God interfaces with our mortal physiology,” he said. “But it is powerful and unlike any other emotion.”

Willardson closed by sharing that these personal experiences are proof to him that people have purpose that goes beyond their lives here on earth.

“I, too, confess that we are strangers and pilgrims on the earth,” Willardson said, “that life continues after our mortal bodies fail us, that our loved ones who have gone before know us and are there to help us.”

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