All is Well

Last Sunday, we attended the Pioneer Days Devotional at the Dee Events Center. When they announced in Relief Society that seats were available "first come, first serve", someone commented that they'd probably need to go at 3:00 or 4:00 pm to get a good seat. I chuckled because the devotional is poorly attended and there are thousands and thousands of empty seats.

Not this year.

photo credit: standard.net

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf was the speaker, and he knows how to draw a crowd. He also knows how to engage his crowd. He started out with this apology, "We were almost late coming here because Harriet and I were busy winning the World Cup."

At the beginning of the devotional, the Pioneer Day royalty stood up and waved to the crowd. This includes the rodeo queens (in full rodeo clothes and hats), the grand marshall of the parade, and the DUP queens. Every year, they stand and wave while the audience claps. But this year, the audience kept clapping for everything. . . throughout the whole devotional.

You can read the full version of President Uchtdorf's address (minus the World Cup reference) here

But here are my notes: 

With such great things happening around us today, it is wise to prepare for the future by looking to the past. This generation will need to stand on our own achievements, not on those of previous generations. 

In spite of having every reason to shout, "All is not well," they looked beyond their troubles to eternal blessings.

#1 Compassion

They helped each other. Even when it slowed their progress, even when it caused inconvenience, even when it meant personal sacrifice and toil. Success is not worth it when it hurts other people. Don't isolate yourselves. Depend on each other to become strong. Reach out to help others. 

#2 Work

Pioneers knew the value of work. "No toil nor labor fear." They woke up with clearly defined purposes and goals. In spite of many reasons to become discouraged, they did not give up. Work diminished their natural tendencies toward self love and magnified their understanding of their divine nature. It heightened their compassion for others. Work does not just bless us temporally, but spiritually as well. 

#3 Optimism

It is one of the great ironies of our age that we are blessed with so much and yet we can be so unhappy. The pioneers understood that happiness doesn't come as a result of luck or having all of our wishes come true. Happiness doesn't come from external circumstance. It comes from the inside, regardless of what is happening around us. 

When we complain about a church meeting that has gone four minutes over its allotted time, perhaps we can hear the voices of those pioneers: "Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard? Tis not so; all is right."

So often our excuses for not being happy are in reality trivial and vain, as though we are looking for a reason to be at odds with the world, as though we want to prove somehow that we cannot experience joy. 

The pioneers were not supermen and superwomen. They were just like you and me. How often did they wonder if they could go on? But they pressed on in faith. One step at a time, they pressed on. They trusted in God, and they left a legacy that will inspire and strengthen generations to come. 

The pioneers had their trials, we have ours. The best way we can honor the pioneers is by incorporating he faithfulness to God's commandments, the compassion and love for our fellowmen, the industry, optimism, and joy the pioneers demonstrated into our lives. The same principles will help us succeed in our community today. 

There was more clapping after the closing song. . . Best Pioneer Days Devotional ever. 

1 comment:

Kayli said...

Sounds awesome. Thanks for the notes and the link- it was a really great talk. I really liked his points so much.