Spiritual preparation is an ongoing process, Church leader says

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W. Christopher Waddell, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, speaks during the BYU devotional on Nov. 5 in the Marriott Center. (Preston Carlisle Crawley)

The Presiding Bishopric has many responsibilities within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including humanitarian work, temple design and construction, financial investments, and church publications. These oversight responsibilities help individuals — and the church — prepare spiritually for the future, according to Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, who spoke Nov. 5 at the devotional in the Marriott Center.

After outlining these temporal responsibilities, the second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric told students his role is to help “prepare the way.”

He related the preparations he must make within his calling to the preparations members of the Church have to make to be “ready.” He said members must prepare for various spiritual events, including ordination, temple recommend interviews, missions and temple sealings. Being “ready” could be as simple as receiving and acting on promptings to serve others. Or, it could be all the Church and its members are doing to prepare for the Second Coming of the Lord.

Bishop Waddell asked his audience to remember two important lessons in preparing for the Second Coming: first, readiness does not mean perfection, and second, it is not a competition.

In contrast to perfection and comparison, Bishop Waddell offered three “essentials” to focus on in preparation for the Savior.

He said that as temples are constructed all over the globe, President Russell M. Nelson has indirectly and directly emphasized the “essential” need of temples and temple attendance. He also emphasized the benefits of temple attendance.

“In a world that is increasingly secular and spiritually confusing, the House of the Lord serves as an oasis in a spiritual desert,” he said. “In His house, we find peace. In His house, we find security from the distractions of the world as we are instructed regarding our relationship with our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, and His eternal plan for the exaltation of His children.”

Bishop Waddell said it’s essential to study the Book of Mormon and how it is important to “partake” and not simply “taste,” as was depicted in the story of the Tree of Life in 1 Nephi 8.

He noted that there were two types of people who partook of the fruit of the tree: those who “tasted” and were ashamed, and those who “partook” and did not listen to the mocking of those in the great and spacious building.

“Ultimately, it is not how many times we read the Book of Mormon cover to cover that’s important, but how we apply what we’ve studied in our pursuit to become more like our Savior,” Bishop Waddell said. “Since being ‘converted to the Lord’ is a lifelong challenge, our study of the Book of Mormon must be a lifelong pursuit.”

Another lifelong pursuit is found in the third “essential” he described: taking the Sacrament.

Doing so while remembering the Savior “will help us to always be ready.”

“Knowing the world we would live in, and the absolute need for the Spirit in our lives, our Father in Heaven provided a way for us to be cleansed and sanctified each week,” Bishop Waddell said, “making it possible to head back into the world clothed with the power and influence available only through the companionship of His Spirit.”

At the conclusion of his remarks, he encouraged students to continue their spiritual preparations.

“While you’re here at BYU, and beyond, as you focus on the essential and trust the Lord, you will be ready! You will be prepared to take your place — to take your place in a career, in a family, and also to serve in His Kingdom. You will be prepared because you were prepared for this time in the history of creation to help gather Israel and prepare for the return of His Son, Jesus Christ.”

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and historian, will speak at next week’s forum on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 11:05 a.m., in the Marriott Center.

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