Elder Clayton emphasizes building upon the rock of Christ

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Ryan Turner
Elder Weatherford T. Clayton addresses BYU students and faculty on March 14. He spoke about building a foundation on the rock of Christ. (Ryan Turner)

Elder Weatherford T. Clayton of the Quorum of the Seventy emphasized the importance of building a foundation on the rock of Christ during a BYU devotional address.

Clayton said having Christ as a foundation builds the strength to resist Satan’s influences and leads to happiness.

Clayton said when he was a mission president in Canada he would give the departing missionaries one last instruction. He recalled in one of these instances the Spirit brought Helaman 5:12 to his memory.

In the verse Alma tells his sons to remember the “rock of (their) Redeemer” and build upon His foundation to be protected from Satan and his whirlwinds.

“What a magnificent verse of scripture,” Clayton said. “Think of it. Helaman promises us that if we build our foundation upon our Savior, we cannot fall — regardless of what Satan throws at us. What a powerful promise.”

He reminded the audience of the primary song “The Wise Man and the Foolish Man.” He said those who hear and live God and Christ’s words are building their “house upon the rock.”

Clayton quoted Paul, who said the church is built upon this rock. Paul said Christ is the chief cornerstone and, when built upon, creates a temple in the Lord.

“Just as Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone of the Church, we should allow Him to become the chief cornerstone of our lives,” Clayton said.

Clayton said there are ways to make Christ the chief cornerstone in life, and the first of these is faith.

“How do we come to Him?” Clayton said. “It begins with faith in Christ, and central to true faith is action. When we have faith in Jesus Christ, we want to act according to that faith.”

He said this faith must be exercised with real intent. He said paying tithing and attending church as ways to act upon the words of Christ. He said doing these things makes the foundation stronger, wider and deeper.

Clayton said faith alone is not enough to build the foundation. He said faith leads to repentance.

“When we do things that make us better, kinder, gentler, more sensitive and spiritual, more virtuous and true, we are repenting,” Clayton said. “Whenever we choose the better path, we are repenting.”

Clayton recounted a friend’s conversion story. His friend learned the principles of building his foundation upon Christ by reading the Book of Mormon. This lead him to join the church and be baptized.

“The first ordinance of heaven is to follow Christ into baptism,” Clayton said. “Baptism continues the process of establishing our lives on the foundation we are building upon the Rock.”

Clayton coupled baptism with confirmation, which is receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. He said the blessings of baptism and confirmation are great and marvelous. These gifts help build the foundation but also help to highlight Satan’s influence.

“As we stand upon the foundation we are building upon Christ and His apostles, we notice the influences of Satan around us,” Clayton said.

He said his wife’s great-great-grandfather joined the Church and was shunned by his family. He became ill soon after and his family finally allowed the missionaries to give him a blessing when they thought he was about to die. He was immediately healed and went out with the missionaries that night.

Clayton used this story as an example of overcoming the trials in life through a foundation built on Christ.

“Brothers and sisters, we will all face challenges,” Clayton said. “The scripture doesn’t say ‘if’ we will feel Satan’s storms but ‘when.’ Look around you. They are here now.”

He said stepping off the foundation can lead to unhappiness and stepping back on it can lead to the happiness everyone deserves.

Clayton said these teachings and these foundations are not simply for oneself but for others as well.

“Throughout the scriptures we read about fathers and mothers teaching their families,” Clayton said. “What does that mean to us? It means we aren’t building our foundations just for ourselves; we are building them for ourselves and our loved ones.”

He quoted his great-great-grandfather’s advice to respect God in all things. Clayton said respecting God will lead to protection from Satan.

“Helaman was right: we must build our foundation on our Savior,” Clayton said. “If we do so, we cannot fall, regardless of what Satan does. Let me repeat that: regardless of what Satan does, we cannot fall.”

Clayton expressed the importance of Christ’s Atonement and God’s Plan of Salvation. He said building upon these things will allow people to return to God’s presence with their family to partake of eternal life.

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