A war raging across Angola forced Sister Maria Filomena Teixeira and her family to leave behind their extensive wealth in the Portuguese colony. They lost all their possessions except one: the car they gave away to help a friend in need to escape the impending conflict.
“Your priorities of today will be your joy and fulfillment of tomorrow,” said Sister Teixeira’s husband, Elder José A. Teixeira of the Presidency of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in his devotional address on Nov. 6 at the BYU Marriott Center.
Elder Teixeira said prioritizing God brings joy and fulfillment in life. He encouraged attendees to prioritize returning to God, doing what is right despite popular opinion and keeping spiritual beliefs so they can reach their potential.
After Sister Teixeira’s family returned to Angola to begin rebuilding their lives, they met the missionaries and were taught the restored gospel. Despite needing to reorganize their lives, they chose to prioritize returning to Heavenly Father and were baptized and sealed.
As a young boy in Portugal, Elder Teixeira lived near a large, 12th-century Romanesque cathedral which he attended nearly every week. He received a religious education based on hundreds of years of tradition.
At age 16, Elder Teixeira and his family encountered Latter-day Saint missionaries and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. As they came to learn more, their desire to join the church was met with fierce opposition from close friends, according to Elder Teixeira.
Elder Teixeira said the missionaries changed their perspective on life, and his family was baptized and sealed. The popular views or conduct of others should not constrain or detain others from doing what they know is right, he said.
“Our choice to believe in Christ and the priorities we set to live according to His teachings are central to a life replete with joy fulfillment,” Elder Teixeira said.
Elder Teixeira also told a fable about a bird and a traveling man to illustrate his last point of keeping spiritual beliefs.
A bird was looking for food when he saw a traveling man with a box of worms. The hungry bird asked the man for a worm, and the man said only on the condition the bird gave him a feather.
The bird had plenty of feathers but was hungry, so it made the trade. Over the next several days, the bird repeated this transaction with the traveling man thinking one more feather wouldn’t make a difference. Eventually, the bird traded away its last feather and became the man’s prisoner.
“The things we believe to be true are the precious feathers that will allow us to reach our divine potential,” Elder Teixeira said. “If we trade our beliefs for worldly pleasures, we jeopardize our capacity to fly.”
Elder Teixeira said where one spends their time represents priorities in life and the importance of putting God first.
“When we love God and put Him first in our lives, everything else falls into place. When we extend that love to those around us, we find joy and fulfillment,” Elder Teixeira said.
Elder Shayne M. Bowen, a member of the Seventy, will address BYU at the next devotional on Nov. 13 at 11:05 a.m. in the Marriott Center.