Thank you MacKenzie Ostler for creating this study guide to enhance our study of Elder Holland’s talk from April 2020 conference!
-Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Before you take time to study this one out, maybe take a few moments to watch this brand new video the Church came out with, coming from this talk Elder Holland gave. Find that video here.
Sisters, it was a pleasure studying this beautiful talk this week. I know we are all going through a LOT. Each of us are going through our own challenges. Many have said we are all in the same boat with this COVID-19 pandemic. I don’t believe we are. I believe we are in separate life boats on a very stormy, wind-tossed sea. Each of us is trying to plug holes, face our separate challenges in every which way in order to stay afloat. Although this pandemic, social isolation and distancing has helped us relate to one another, it definitely doesn’t mean we are all going through the same things. We all have our own challenges on top of the pandemic. I dare say, not a single person on this planet has not been affected by the chaos that 2020 has brought.
Amid the chaos, Elder Holland, and all of the Prophet and Apostles of our Savior, Jesus Christ, have a certain brightness of hope that brings encouragement to my soul. That is what we are going to focus on today.
STUDY TIP: While reading through Elder Holland’s talk, circle the word “hope” every time it is mentioned. At the end of the talk, count how many times he said that word.
Let’s get into the talk:
Sister Holland and I took that prophetic invitation seriously. We imagined ourselves living in the early 1800s, looking at the religious beliefs of that day. In that imagined setting, we asked ourselves, “What’s missing here? What do we wish we had? What do we hope God will provide in response to our spiritual longing?”
If you lived in 1820, what would have your spiritual beliefs have been? What was missing? What would have you been longing to know further about?
These are the things Elder and Sister Holland had hoped for(and you can study more in depth as we go along):
1: A truer concept of God
-Speaking to His children
-A TRUE Father
2: A knowledge of the reality that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior
-The literal Son of God
-Alpha & Omega
-The only Savior this world will ever know
STUDY TIP: Take time to reflect on the roles the Savior has in your life. What do the different names and titles that He is known by mean and what does that mean to you personally? (Elder Holland’s book “Witness for His Names” is a fantastic study tool for this.
3: Having the true Priesthood authority
-Glory of Holy Temples
1: The Spirit
2: The ordinances
3: The authority to teach eternal thruths
4: Heal personal wounds
5: Bind families together
STUDY TIP: Take time to reflect on the blessings the temple has brought into your life.
QUESTION: What brought you to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints? What keeps you in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints?
Can we look forward to the future with hope? Absolutely. We must.
“But what of our look ahead? We still have hopes that have not yet been fulfilled. Even as we speak, we are waging an “all hands on deck” war with COVID-19, a solemn reminder that a virus9 1,000 times smaller than a grain of sand10 can bring entire populations and global economies to their knees. We pray for those who have lost loved ones in this modern plague, as well as for those who are currently infected or at risk. We certainly pray for those who are giving such magnificent health care. When we have conquered this—and we will—may we be equally committed to freeing the world from the virus of hunger, freeing neighborhoods and nations from the virus of poverty. May we hope for schools where students are taught—not terrified they will be shot—and for the gift of personal dignity for every child of God, unmarred by any form of racial, ethnic, or religious prejudice. Undergirding all of this is our relentless hope for greater devotion to the two greatest of all commandments: to love God by keeping His counsel and to love our neighbors by showing kindness and compassion, patience and forgiveness.11 These two divine directives are still—and forever will be—the only real hope we have for giving our children a better world than the one they now know.12”
The 2 things we must focus on are our two greatest commandments:
1: Love God by keeping His counsel
2: Love our neighbors by showing kindness and compassion, patience and forgiveness
Many of our 2020 problems could be solved by all us doing these 2 things.
And speaking of our personal “holes we are plugging in our life boats, “ Elder Holland said, “In addition to having these global desires, many in this audience today have deeply personal hopes: hope for a marriage to improve, or sometimes just hope for a marriage; hope for an addiction to be conquered; hope for a wayward child to come back; hope for physical and emotional pain of a hundred kinds to cease. Because the Restoration reaffirmed the foundational truth that God does work in this world, we can hope, we should hope, even when facing the most insurmountable odds. “
There is so much more that can be studied, and please take time to do so. I want to end on this beautiful note. “So, I ask, “If so many of our 1820 hopes could begin to be fulfilled with a flash of divine light to a mere boy kneeling in a patch of trees in upstate New York, why should we not hope that righteous desires and Christ like yearnings can still be marvelously, miraculously answered by the God of all hope?” We all need to believe that what we desire in righteousness can someday, someway, somehow yet be ours.”
I testify that HOPE is what brings the light to the darkest night. I testify that HOPE doesn’t solve all of the problems, but it does make moment by moment seem a little more bearable. HOPE in our Savior, Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Parents, and the realization that they have a plan for you and for me, that is what can helps us get through each day, no matter how dark the day may seem. “…Believe that what we desire in righteousness can someday, someway, somehow yet be ours.”