“How do we carry His name?” Abigail Allen, an associate professor in the Marriott School of Business, considered this question during her devotional on Tuesday.
Allen first shared her experience as a young graduate working for an accounting firm. She was asked to work on a Sunday, which conflicted with her commitment to keep the Sabbath holy.
Summoning her courage, Allen approached her boss and explained that since she was a member of the Church, she observed the Sabbath. The manager, despite understanding the request, denied it, stating that everyone occasionally needs to prioritize the team over personal preferences.
The Spirit brought to her mind a colleague who was a faithful Orthodox Jew, who had accommodations made for him. The Spirit whispered to her and prompted her to emphasize her deep religious conviction by describing herself as an "Orthodox Mormon.”
“It was as if a light came on for my manager, and her entire demeanor and response were wholly changed. Now understanding the depth of my conviction, she was willing to accommodate my request.”
“As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we are empowered each week with the sacred opportunity to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, a designation which is far weightier even than the word “Orthodox,” she said.
This experience taught Allen that her interactions with colleagues shaped their perception of her and, by extension, their understanding of members of the Church. Similarly, their past experiences with faithful individuals influenced their expectations of believers, regardless of religious denomination.
“When you renew those covenants each week, you commit to conduct yourself in words, in actions, in even in your secret thoughts in ways that will uplift His Church,” Allen said. “In a very real way, you must choose whether your name, and through your actions, the Lord’s name, will be interpreted for good or evil.”
Allen asked the audience how they wanted the world to know them. She focused on two vital messages she feels she must share with the world.
Message #1: The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of love
“As members of the BYU community, and more importantly, as disciples of Jesus Christ, how do our daily interactions communicate our love for the Lord, and for His children?”
Allen invited all to consider these questions:
- Do I watch for individuals who may be struggling and proactively help bear their burdens?
- Am I slow to criticize and quick to forgive?
- Do I avoid contention, striving instead to love and understand those whom I disagree with?
- Do I seek to elevate and celebrate the divine in all those around me?
“If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then the question that follows is, ‘How can I best continue to do that?’ If the answer is, ‘I’m not there yet,’ then the second question is, ‘How can I do better?’”
Quoting President Russell M. Nelson in his general conference talk “Peacemakers Needed,” Allen reminded the audience that “if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy … that should be our standard of our communication.”
“Love is not about simply abstaining from the negative, choosing to hold your tongue when your thoughts are unkind, or to walk away rather than engage in conflict. Love is instead, like all the Savior’s commands, a much higher and holier law.”
Allen taught that only when we see one another as Christ does can we start to “love one another” as He has “loved you.”
Message #2: The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of revelation
“One of the most marvelous truths of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is that God has not ceased to communicate with man,” Allen said. “That as He ever did, He ever does, reveal principles of divine instruction, essential to our day through His living prophets.”
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we must not shy away from hard questions but approach those questions through a lens of faith, conveying our conviction of a gospel centered in revelation and love, Allen said.
“How can our actions reflect this conviction to the world around us?” Allen asked. Again, she offered a few questions for personal reflection:
- Do I actively advocate for, support and live with exactness the counsel of prophets, bearing witness through my words and actions?
- Do I exercise humility and patience in seeking to understand doctrine, policy or historical accounts that do not presently resonate with my worldview, politics or understanding?
- Do I seek diligently for personal revelation in my daily life and interactions?
- Do I call upon the Savior as part of my daily repentance?
“To carry His name, we must trust and act upon His revealed commandments, exercising humility and patience in His timeline. Disciples of Jesus Christ are not perfect, nor do they expect others to be; rather, they trust that only by and through Him perfection is possible.”