Broken Things to Mend

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(This is an excerpt from the book Broken Things to Mend.)

So how does one "come unto Christ" in response to this constant invitation? The scriptures give scores of examples and avenues. You are well acquainted with the most basic ones. The easiest and the earliest comes simply with the desire of our heart, the most basic form of faith that we know. "If ye can no more than desire to believe," Alma says, exercising just "a particle of faith," giving even a small place for the promises of God to find a home—that is enough to begin (see Alma 32:27; emphasis added). Just believing, just having a molecule of faith—simply hoping for things which are not yet seen in our lives, but which are nevertheless truly there to be bestowed (see Alma 32:21)—that simple step, when focused on the Lord Jesus Christ, has ever been and always will be the first principle of His eternal gospel, the first step out of despair.

Second, we must change anything we can change that may be part of the problem. In short, we must repent, perhaps the most hopeful and encouraging word in the Christian vocabulary. We thank our Father in Heaven we are allowed to change, we thank Jesus we can change, and ultimately we do so only with their divine assistance. Certainly not everything we struggle with is a result of our actions. Often our trials result from the actions of others or just the mortal events of life. But anything we can change we should change, and we must forgive the rest. In this way our access to the Savior's Atonement becomes as unimpeded as we, with our imperfections, can make it. He will take it from there.

Third, in as many ways as possible we try to take upon us His identity, and we begin by taking upon us His name. That name is formally bestowed by covenant in the saving ordinances of the gospel. These start with baptism and conclude with temple covenants, with many others, such as partaking of the sacrament, laced throughout our lives as additional blessings and reminders. Teaching the people of his day this message, Nephi said: "Follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, . . . with real intent, . . . take upon you the name of Christ. . . . Do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer [will] do" (2 Nephi 31:13, 17).

Following these most basic teachings, a splendor of connections to Christ opens up to us in multitudinous ways: prayer and fasting and meditation upon His purposes, savoring the scriptures, giving service to others, "succor[ing] the weak, lift[ing] up the hands which hang down, . . . strengthen[ing] the feeble knees" (D&C 81:5). Above all else, loving with "the pure love of Christ," that gift that "never faileth," that gift that "beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, [and] endureth all things" (Moroni 7:47, 46, 45). Soon, with that kind of love, we realize our days hold scores of thoroughfares leading to the Master and that every time we reach out, however feebly, for Him, we discover He has been anxiously trying to reach us. So we step, we strive, we seek, and we never yield.

My desire is for all of us—not just those who are "poor in spirit" but all of us—to have more straightforward personal experience with the Savior's example. Sometimes we seek heaven too obliquely, focusing on programs or history or the experience of others. Those are important, but not as important as personal experience, true discipleship, and the strength that comes from experiencing firsthand the majesty of His touch.

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