Few promises made in scripture have the credentials and guarantees of the promise made to those who endure to the end: “Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.” (3 Ne. 15:9.)
Nearly thirty other passages from the standard works refer to this promise. Such overwhelming scriptural attestation is extraordinary. In addition to the statements of the many prophets who have repeated this promise in the name of God, scripture quotes both the Father (2 Ne. 31:15, 20) and the Son (3 Ne. 27:16) as making this promise directly. There simply can be no doubt that those who endure to the end will be saved in the kingdom of God.
This joyous affirmation is one of the most consoling features of the gospel’s restoration through the Prophet Joseph Smith. God’s promise, given to us in our dispensation in such clarity, is sure: Once we are on the path leading to eternal life, we need only endure in order to enjoy the promised blessings.
May I add my personal welcome to those brethren and sisters newly sustained today. What has happened today would not have occurred had you not married so well spiritually so many years ago.
On one of those rare occasions when His very voice was heard, the Father testified, “Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved” (2 Ne. 31:15.) Of all that the Father might have said, He stressed endurance. Why?
The Savior said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Many carry heavy burdens. Some have lost a loved one to death or care for one who is disabled. Some have been wounded by divorce. Others yearn for an eternal marriage. Some are caught in the grip of addictive substances or practices like alcohol, tobacco, drugs, or pornography. Others have crippling physical or mental impairments. Some are challenged by same-gender attraction. Some have terrible feelings of depression or inadequacy. In one way or another, many are heavy laden.
“The Atonement of Jesus Christ and the healing it offers do much more than provide the opportunity for repentance from sins. The Atonement also gives us the strength to endure ‘pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind,’ because our Savior also took upon Him ‘the pains and the sicknesses of his people’ (Alma 7:11). Brothers and sisters, if your faith and prayers and the power of the priesthood do not heal you from an affliction, the power of the Atonement will surely give you the strength to bear the burden.”
Dallin H. Oaks, “He Heals the Heavy Laden,” Ensign, Nov. 2006, 9
“Patience—the ability to put our desires on hold for a time—is a precious and rare virtue. We want what we want, and we want it now. Therefore, the very idea of patience may seem unpleasant and, at times, bitter.
“Nevertheless, without patience, we cannot please God; we cannot become perfect.”
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Continue in Patience,” Ensign, May 2010, 56
I have lived long enough to experience firsthand many of the challenges of life. I have known exceptional people who have endured severe trials while others, at least on the surface, seem to have lived charmed lives.
Often those who struggle with adversity ask the question “Why did this happen to me?” They spend sleepless nights wondering why they feel so lonely, sick, discouraged, oppressed, or brokenhearted.
The question “Why me?” can be a difficult one to answer and often leads to frustration and despair. There is a better question to ask ourselves. That question is “What could I learn from this experience?”
The Apostle Paul boldly declared, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16). This same boldness is declared by our full-time missionaries as they serve in many parts of the world.
Essentially, the gospel of Jesus Christ is a five-ingredient recipe for eternal life. First, let us consider what can become of us if we follow this recipe, and then we can consider each of the ingredients.
What do we know about eternal life? We learn from Moses 1:39 that the Lord’s work and glory is to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life. This teaches us that immortality and eternal life are separate and distinct. The gift of eternal life, which is promised only when certain conditions are met, is so much greater than the gift of immortality.
I still rejoice in the wonderful spirit we felt as we sang together this morning:
Now let us rejoice in the day of salvation.
No longer as strangers on earth need we roam.
Good tidings are sounding to us and each nation.
(“Now Let Us Rejoice,” Hymns, no. 3)
These words by Brother William W. Phelps are quite a contrast to the world’s tendency to focus on bad news. It is true, we live in a time foretold in the scriptures as a day of “wars, rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places” (Mormon 8:30), when “the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them” (D&C 45:26).
When tragedy, disappointment, and heartache surface in our lives, it is not unusual for many of us to become self- condemning and resentful. In the stress of the situation we declare, “What have we done to deserve this? Why does the Lord allow this to happen to us?”
With heavy hearts and broken spirits the parents of a wayward child were recently heard to say, “Where did we go wrong? What have we done to displease the Lord? What is the Lord trying to tell us? Is this the reward for trying to be good parents? Why us?”
These were among a flood of questions that came as they agonized over the serious misconduct of their child. Their comments and attitude reflected a frightening blend of resentment, frustration, and self-condemnation.
Many years ago I had the opportunity of witnessing a state-championship high-school track meet at Brigham Young University. The lesson I learned as I watched the mile run was most impressive. I know I shall never forget it. About a dozen young men had qualified to represent their schools. The starting gun was fired, and these young men who had trained so long and so hard took off. Four fellows, closely bunched together, took the early lead. Suddenly the runner in second place spiked the first runner’s foot with his shoe. As the leader was about to make the next stride forward, he found that he was without a shoe.
A couple of years ago a humor columnist for a local newspaper wrote on a serious and thought-provoking subject. I quote from this article: “Being a go-to-church Mormon in Utah means living so close to fellow ward members that not much happens that the entire congregation doesn’t know about in five minutes tops.”
He continues: “This kind of cheek-to-jowl living can be intrusive. … It also happens to be one of our greatest strengths.”
The author goes on to say: “At work on Tuesday, I caught the noon news broadcast on television. A van had been obliterated in a traffic crash. A young mother and two small children were being rushed to emergency rooms by helicopter and ambulance. … Hours later I learned that the van belonged to the young couple living across the street from me in Herriman, Eric and Jeana Quigley.
We are told in the scriptures that it is essential to endure to the end:
“Wherefore, if ye shall be obedient to the commandments, and endure to the end, ye shall be saved at the last day. And thus it is” (1 Ne. 22:31).
“Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days” (D&C 24:8).
“Behold, we count them happy which endure” (James 5:11).
Examples of faithfully enduring to the end are taught by prophets of all ages as they demonstrate courage while enduring trials and tribulations to carry forth the will of God. Our greatest example comes from the life of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. When suffering upon the cross at Calvary, Jesus felt the loneliness of agency when He pled to His Father in Heaven, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). The Savior of the world was left alone by His Father to experience, of His own free will and choice, an act of agency which allowed Him to complete His mission of the Atonement.
To meet the difficulties that are coming, it will be necessary for you to have a knowledge of the truth of this work for yourselves….The time will come when no man nor woman will be able to endure on borrowed light. Each will have to be guided by the light within himself. If you do not have it, how can you stand?
In Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, p. 450
Endure to the end. What does that mean? I believe it means basically three things. One: We must continue to repent for the rest of our lives because we will still make mistakes, and we must go home clean or we can’t dwell with the Father and the Son (see D&C 84:74). Two: We must continue to forgive others. If we do not forgive others, we cannot obtain forgiveness ourselves (see D&C 64:9-10). And three: Yes we must be nice. If we’re not nice, I don’t think we’re going to make it. In other words, we must have charity, which is really love plus sacrifice.
Hartmon Rector Jr., Ensign, Nov. 1994, p. 26
“We do live in turbulent times. Often the future is unknown; therefore, it behooves us to prepare for uncertainties. Statistics reveal that at some time, for a variety of reasons, you may find yourself in the role of financial provider. I urge you to pursue your education and learn marketable skills so that, should such a situation arise, you are prepared.
Thomas S. Monson
5 For all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified.
35 And all they who suffer persecution for my name, and endure in faith, though they are called to lay down their lives for my sake yet shall they partake of all this glory.
8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
29 All thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
4 And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers; and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end, which is life eternal.
26 Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.
37 And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.
31 Wherefore, if ye shall be obedient to the commandments, and endure to the end, ye shall be saved at the last day.
18 But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.
24 And if they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name, and endure to the end, they must be damned; for the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has spoken it.
16 And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.
20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
9 Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.
29 See that ye are not baptized unworthily; see that ye partake not of the sacrament of Christ unworthily; but see that ye do all things in worthiness, and do it in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God; and if ye do this, and endure to the end, ye will in nowise be cast out.
3 I am mindful of you always in my prayers, continually praying unto God the Father in the name of his Holy Child, Jesus, that he, through his infinite goodness and grace, will keep you through the endurance of faith on his name to the end.
“Enduring to the end, or remaining faithful to the laws and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout our life, is a fundamental requirement for salvation in the kingdom of God. This belief distinguishes Latter-day Saints from many other Christian denominations that teach that salvation is given to all who simply believe and confess that Jesus is the Christ. The Lord clearly declared, ‘If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God’ (D&C 14:7).
“Therefore, enduring to the end is not just a matter of passively tolerating life’s difficult circumstances or ‘hanging in there.’ Ours is an active religion, helping God’s children along the strait and narrow path to develop their full potential during this life and return to Him one day. Viewed from this perspective, enduring to the end is exalting and glorious, not grim and gloomy. This is a joyful religion, one of hope, strength, and deliverance. ‘Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy’ (2 Nephi 2:25).
“Enduring to the end is a process filling every minute of our life, every hour, every day, from sunrise to sunrise. It is accomplished through personal discipline following the commandments of God.”
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
“There is more to endurance than just surviving and waiting for the end to overtake us. To endure to the end takes great faith.”
Robert D. Hales, Ensign, May 1998, 75