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Intellect

Being reverent is much more than staying quiet, Elder Hallstrom tells devotional audience

Achieving a reverent life is worth any price, Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, told students at a devotional Tuesday in the Marriott Center.

“Today can be a pivotal, even an historic day in our life. It can be the day we make the decision and take the disciplined efforts to become more reverent,” he said.

Elder Hallstrom defined reverence as “to have a profound love and respect for Deity,” and stated that “reverence is profound respect mingled with love.

Real reverence “has to do with how we think, how we act, and how we speak. It relates to our integrity and the way we treat one another. The level at which we keep the covenants made in the holy ordinances is a powerful indication of our reverence,” said Elder Hallstrom.

He quoted the philosopher Thomas Carlyle, saying reverence is “the highest of human feelings,” and former Church president David O. McKay who said, “If reverence is the highest, then irreverence is the lowest state in which a man can live in the world.”

“Indeed my aspiration is for each of us to want to live a more reverent life—a life reflective of our love for God the Eternal Father and His son Jesus Christ,” said Elder Hallstrom.

He spoke of the opportunities that arise in life to worship God and increase reverence in three ways: public worship, family worship, and private worship.

Elder Hallstrom spoke of public worship as an assembly of God’s children where the purpose is to increase one’s “understanding of our Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit,” and its inclusive responsibility to “translate that ever-increasing knowledge into wisdom.”

He spoke of the importance of the ordinances and covenants involved in temple worship and in participation of the sacrament. He encouraged students to be full participants in such church meetings, to allow the spirit to communicate with them.

He further spoke of the importance of family worship, through “family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction and wholesome family activities.” He told students that “when children are raised with reverence—when they see parents whose parents lives are reverent—they are more likely to follow this divine pattern.”

On personal worship he said “reverence is a personal matter” that includes “personal prayer, personal gospel study, and personal pondering of one’s relationship with Deity, and quoting the scriptures saying, “For how knoweth a man the master…who is a stranger unto him, and is far from thoughts and intents of his heart?”

Elder Hallstrom quoted Elder D. Todd Christofferson, who said that if an absence of reverence is felt in one’s life, he will grow more casual and lax in attitude and conduct. “He will drift from the moorings that his coventants with God could provide.”

He shared an experience of when he gained a greater respect and love for the Lord through the work and ministry of His chosen servants.

During the Laie Hawaii Temple rededication, Elder Hallstrom was given the responsibility of local security and transportation arrangements for President Spencer W. Kimball, then president of the Church. After the assignment was fulfilled, President Kimball lovingly and gratefully acknowledged Elder Hallstrom for his efforts during the course of the rededication. After the experience Elder Hallstrom said that President Kimball became “someone whom I deeply loved” and that he knew that President Kimball loved him. Elder Hallstrom said that this knowledge gave him the affirmation that he would do whatever the president asked “because I knew whatever he asked would be for my own best good.”

Elder Hallstrom experienced this same love as he studied the life of the Savior and came to feel that he would do whatever the Savior required, because he knew whatever he asked would be for his own good.

Of this Elder Hallstrom stated, “I testify that this knowledge has made all the difference in my life in our family,” and has provided a “perfect brightness of hope.”

Elder Hallstrom spoke of the many trials and hardships that one may face, but affirmed that “whatever your circumstance, living a reverent life will lessen your load.”

He closed his remarks by inviting students once again to make the efforts to become more reverent. “A reverent life is worth any price. Indeed, it is the essence of our life’s work.”

To read the talk in its entirety, visit speeches.byu.edu. The devotional will also be rebroadcast on BYUtv. Check byutv.org for schedules, as well as on demand availability.

Writer: Stephanie Bahr

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