We are a peculiar people due to our commitment to consecration. Dieter F. Uchtdorf told a story of a man who dreamed he was where people from all over the world gathered, representing each religion, and met some members of our church. Curious, he asked them “What do you require of your members?” and they responded
“We do not require anything, but the Lord asks that we consecrate all.”
They then went on to explain all of the work that members put into the Church for free, listing off many things! Confused, the man asked “Why would anyone want to join such a church?”
Practicing members of the Church know why: love for Christ! They believe in Him and trust that as they follow Him that they will make it back to their Heavenly Father.
Consecrating our all means to dedicate our time, talents and, even, possessions to the building up of God’s kingdom here on earth. Although we don’t live the Law of Consecration to the exactness of the Kirtland saints or the people of Enoch, we can still benefit from the blessings of practicing it.
Tad R. Callister gave a talk called “Becoming a Consecrated Missionary” at the MTC in 2008. His words took root in the hearts of the missionaries throughout the world who read his talk, becoming more obediently invested in the work.
“What about us?!” cries out the average member, “Can’t we become consecrated too?”
How Can I be a Consecrated Member?
1. Be Obedient
Mario Facione was one such man who gave up his disobedience for the gospel. Raised in a mafia family, he aspired nothing more than to specialize in black market liquidation. Then one day he met the missionaries, began reading The Book of Mormon, and converted. Yet, according to his bishop he was still serving two masters and couldn’t go to the temple because of that.
He realized that exact obedience wasn’t just for the missionaries who had taught him. It was for him as well, and it had to be the structure of his life. However, his lifestyle couldn’t fit in with that structure. That considered, he let go of his crime, fear for his life (he knew that “you don’t just walk away from the mob”), and criminal lifestyle.
As Facione did, a consecrated member realizes that he or she must do everything that they can to fully live the gospel. As we do, blessings will come our way. Eventually, Facione became a temple worker and the author of “Mafia to Mormon.”
By becoming obedient he didn’t just change his actions; he changed his heart, his very nature. We shouldn’t have to be obedient. Like Mario, we should want to be obedient and sacrifice our all to be so.
“[Put] off the natural man…[be] willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father” (Mosiah 3:19)
2. Doubt and Fear Not
“Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.”― Dieter F. Uchtdorf
In the early history of the Church, the pioneers overcame countless fears. Try to imagine the mind of one of those brave men or women who made the journey to the West. There would be family members never to be seen again. Illness and death to occur. And, in general, the unknown.
Doubting their own intentions, the thought “Is this really worth it?” more than likely crossed through many pioneers’ minds as they endured such trials. Yet, they understood the importance of letting their fears and doubts go.
John Tanner understood this concept as well. He was a convert to the church in the early days and financed many church efforts. When he was committed to baptism, being handicapped, he almost declined, as he feared that he would die. He doubted his own strength; his own abilities. However, his desire to consecrate his life to God was stronger. He gathered up his faith and cast away his fear and was baptized.
In 1856 three eighteen-year-old boys realized that consecration meant holding nothing back as they faced the icy Sweetwater River. They were there to rescue members of the suffering Martin Handcart Company. Mustering up courage and faith, they cast away their fear and carried nearly every member across the river. Their efforts saved the company but the exposure took their own lives.
Giving up our fears and doubts is easier said than done. Legitimate issues and concerns seem to stand in the way of our giving our all, being consecrated. Our fears are often clouded in excuses, justification, and a lack of faith that keep us from action. If we truly believe in what we are doing then nothing will stop us.
3. Cast Away Temptations
An anonymous LDS young woman shared her story of overcoming pornography. By justifying that it wouldn’t cause much harm she became addicted, ashamed, and disobedient to other commandments.
“The appetites and temptations to which the flesh is subject can, if permitted, overwhelm and dominate the spirit.”― D. Todd Chritofferson
After struggling with this for a couple of years, she sought the help of her bishop to put this romantic passion of hers on the table. As a result, she became a happier person.
God knows us inside and out; He especially knows our thoughts and actions. From Him, we can hide nothing. He understands our carnal nature but He desires that we overcome it. By overcoming, we prove our willingness to consecrate our whole selves to Him.
“Will I respond to the inclinations of the natural man, or will I yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and put off the natural man and become a saint through the Atonement of Christ the Lord?”― Elder David A. Bednar
Turning from temptation takes time, dedication, and a willing heart. Our mindsets and actions will not always change over night. Little by little, it will take both small and big changes in our lives that we have to be open to. As we accept those changes, we will strengthen our relationship with God and become more consecrated.
4. Be Humble
Humility is a sign of spiritual strength. A humble person is not prone to jealousy, doesn’t justify their actions, isn’t defensive, quickly confesses their sins, and repents. It is an attribute of Christ and can be difficult for many of us to act upon. It is much easier for us to act on the opposite of humility: pride.
“Pride is a damning sin in the true sense of that word. It limits or stops progression.”― Ezra Taft Benson
One person from scriptural history who found himself ensnared by pride was Alma the Younger. Like many young people today, he rebelled against his father and God. He wouldn’t heed to any counsel or correct his ways. His lack of consecration to God and the church halted not only his own spiritual progression but that of other members of the church as well.
It took an angel of the Lord and being harrowed up spiritually for three days for Alma to realize his error and to become humble. Humility, in other words, is letting go of pride. Alma did so by being repentant, confessing his sins, and working giving the rest of his life to God and the building up of His church.
When we are humble, we are constantly asking ourselves, and especially others, “What can I do to become better?” By asking this question and abiding by the counsel or rebuke to follow, we open the doors to our progression and increase our ability to give more of ourselves to God. Prideful disobedience or rebellion will only stand in our way.
5. Be Positive
“We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. For maximum happiness, peace, and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude.”― Thomas S. Monson
Stephanie Nielson had 80% of her body burned in a 2008 plane crash. Her accident presented a ton of challenges for her. Not only was she in a load of pain, but she no longer looked the same. Her skin was super sensitive. It was hard to go out in public. Even doing her daughers’ hair became hard for her to do.
Although the winds had been hard against her, as Monson suggests, she adjusted her sails by turning to blogging. It has helped her to remain positive despite all of her challenges. Through her blog and by turning to God, she is able to see the beauty in life and is able to look at the world with positivity.
“I am living a beautiful life despite pain and challenges”
By having a positive attitude and outlook on life, we are testifying of a very important truth to our peers, loved ones, and the world; the gospel is happiness. As the scriptures say, when we faithfully have “good cheer,” fearing nothing, Christ stands with us. In turn, we stand with Him, and that is one of the purposes and blessings of consecration: to stand with Christ.
6. Raise the Bar
A consecrated member is not lazy; he or she does not waste their time. At the end of the day, they regret nothing. Not thoughts of “I could have done this or that.” All tasks are accomplished, endured through despite difficulty. They do not give up. That is what raising the bar means.
Jimmer Fredette, former BYU basketball player, did just that. Basketball had always been his passion, but he wanted more than to be just the high school all-star. He accepted a self-made contract from his brother TJ, committing him to “make the necessary sacrifices” to make his goal of playing in the NBA.
For Fredette, team practices weren’t enough for him to fulfill that contract. He took to the church hallways to do basketball drills. He even went to a local prison to scrimmage with the inmates. All of his hard work and dedication led to his playing for BYU and being drafted into the NBA. Jimmer shows us all that going above and beyond by making those necessary sacrifices that hard work pays off.
In the gospel of Jesus Christ, as we too “make the necessary sacrifices,” it will all pay off if we do not surrender and if we keep on going, enduring to the end.
“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.” (2 Nephi 31:20)
7. Serve Others
We shouldn’t just serve when we are told to but when we see the need and act on promptings and intuitions to reach out. That’s how the Savior served and in our journey towards consecration, that is one of the best things that we can do to become like Him.
“First observe, then serve”― Linda K. Burton
When I was four-years-old my greatest example of service was my then-17-year-old recent convert sister. Although I have very few memories from back then with her, they all revolve around service. She often saw the needs of others and sought to fulfill them.
During the winter months, she would make soup or stew and take it to an elderly widow down the street. She would pinpoint a local family in need and make sure that on Christmas morning that they would find presents at their doorstep. Several times I found myself at the hospital with her to do nothing other than to talk to people and to pass out flowers that we had picked in the fields.
Every day, as we open our eyes to the opportunity, we can see the needs of others. No matter how small or great the need, we can take action in their behalf. We don’t need to do something grand. Often, the greatest difference in someone’s life comes from the smallest act of service.
“For inasmuch as ye do it unto the last of these, ye do it unto me” (Doctrine and Covenants 42:38).
Let’s do our best to be like Christ. That comes through consecration and is a life-long quest. Many are right beside us in that journey. We see them as examples, and they make differences in our lives, either small or large. What attributes do they have that have made them examples of consecration to you?