Brother Stephen W. Owen, Young Men General President in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke at Tuesday’s devotional about the strength and safety saints can find through gathering.
“Latter-day Saints have a strong tradition of gathering together to be uplifted and inspired,” said Brother Owen.
He shared examples of those gatherings. General Conference, for instance, and the 21,000-person Conference Center, are evidence that gathering is important to the Lord. BYU Devotionals and even the PathwayConnect online learning program are also ways saints gather together.
“I believe something powerful happens anytime we gather as God’s covenant people, anywhere in the world, no matter how many people the gathering may include,” said Brother Owen.
“Our Father in Heaven wants to gather us, because there is great strength and safety in gathering…. The adversary, on the other hand, seeks to isolate us and divide us, because just as gathering brings strength and safety, division brings weakness and danger.”
Brother Owen outlined three ways saints are gathered.
1. Gathered in Families
The first type of gather he shared is the gathering of families. Brother Owen explained that families are the basic organizational unit of God’s children, both on earth and in the eternities. Satan tries to keep people out of families because he knows that they are weaker and more vulnerable when they are isolated.
“Our Father did not send us to earth alone, and He does not intend for us to try to make it back to Him alone,” said Brother Owen.
One way Heavenly Father gathers families, said Brother Owen, is the house of the Lord. Going to the temple provides strength and can help connect generations. The temple and the Plan of Salvation help saints understand that they are all part of a great eternal family.
2. Gathered with Fellow Saints
In addition to families, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offers opportunities for individuals to gather with fellow saints. Many of the blessings of gathering as saints come from Sunday meetings said Brother Owen, but gathering with fellow saints is also much more than that.
“We need more than a ‘hi’ and a handshake in the hallway from fellow saints on Sunday…. Gathering together with our fellow saints is not just about being in the same room together. It’s about building relationships and friendships,” said Brother Owen.
He shared a personal story of a time he experienced saints gathering together as friends. When his family first moved to California to serve a mission, his youngest daughter Jessica struggled being away from her home in Utah. When she was able to form relationships with fellow saints, she felt more at home. That experience allowed her to develop the kind of relationships she could rely on during difficult times in her life.
Brother Owen warned against neglecting opportunities to build friendships with fellow saints. Those relationships do not happen in video games or social media, he instructed. They only happen when saints gather together.
3. Gathered to Christ
According to Brother Owen, the most important gathering is to Christ and the gospel. The way saints gather to Christ is through sacred covenants and ordinances.
To show how saints can gather to Christ, Brother Owen shared the story of Alma, who taught the gospel to a group of believers gathered at the waters of Mormon. During those gatherings, they came to a knowledge of their Redeemer.
“Like the people of Alma, come out of the world, gather with fellow believers and seek to know your Redeemer better,” said Brother Owen.
He concluded by saying, “When we gather together as disciples of Jesus Christ, we not only join the great cause of gathering Israel, but we also strengthen one another in our journey toward eternal life in the presence of our Heavenly Father.”
Next Forum: Bryan Stevenson, Equal Justice Initiative
Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, will deliver the next BYU Forum on Tuesday, October 30, at 11:05 a.m. in the Marriott Center. This forum will not be broadcast.