“Over the years, I have been intrigued by connections that transform our physical world,” Elder Gerrit W. Gong acknowledged during his Tuesday devotional address at Brigham Young University. “For each of us, connection and transformation are also at the heart of our own best story.”
Elder Gong, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, taught that while much of our external world is constantly evolving, that which matters most does not change: our divine potential to change and become like Jesus Christ.
“The realities of Easter testify that our most profound personal transformation occurs when our spirit and body are united, including in resurrection, to become our immortal soul.”
When one accepts Jesus Christ into their lives and lets Him guide them, Elder Gong promises that they will begin to experience a spiritual transformation in their actions, attitudes and entire being.
One of the most effective ways provided by the Lord to assist people in undergoing their spiritual transformation is by connecting with and having familial relationships. Elder Gong referenced the Book of Mormon story of Lehi and his family, who valued their family records so much that they were willing to carry them through the wilderness despite their heaviness.
“As we trust God, we step off this world’s perfectionist treadmill and its siren song that we are inadequate, never good enough. As we trust God, we find peace, hope and a way forward.”
Elder Gong continued by explaining that just like Lehi's family did, everyone can have revelatory moments with their own brass plates that will help continuously lead them to their own promised land.
“Today, thanks to modern technology, we can hold in our hands and carry with us our own brass plates – the scriptures, the words of the prophets, our living family records.”
After thanking the younger generation for the work they were already doing to connect the human family, Elder Gong also expressed the great need for more young adults to preserve personal records and record family history.
“No generation is better prepared than yours to contribute and make a difference in bringing together God’s family – the family of all humanity. You’re digital natives. Your world has always been connected by internet, smartphones and social media.”
Understanding our identity as a part of God’s family changes everything, Elder Gong said. The lack of this understanding often contributes to many of the world’s difficulties.
“So much of this world’s contention and violence, inequality, inequity, injustice come from our not understanding and our not treating each other as brothers and sisters of our Heavenly Father.”
As we understand who we truly are, we have the opportunity to choose the kind of life we want to live and to make it the best possible.
“Our own best story comes when we choose covenant belonging — belonging by covenant with God and each other,” Elder Gong testified.
Often our personal narratives involve selfishness and a limited understanding of mortality. Elder Gong taught that individuals must change their mindset and focus rather on their spiritual heritage, faith and belief that God has a personal interest in their lives, both in significant and minor matters.
“Every man-made 'I choose me' philosophy pales in comparison to the infinitely grand and glorious promise that we can learn to bless those around us as our Savior would and that we can receive all God the Eternal Father has.”
While the story that we write will not be perfect and will involve many shortcomings and mishaps, Elder Gong promised that “God cares about our trajectory,” and that we must learn to “recast any feeling of superiority or guilt that may be separating you from God.”