Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Elder Holland: Look to the Future, Not the Past

Former BYU president and member of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, encouraged students to learn from the past and look to the future at the BYU devotional Tuesday.

“I plead with you, don’t dwell on days now gone or yearn for them anymore,” Elder Holland said. “The past is to be learned from but not lived in.”

Elder Holland referenced the story of Lot in the book of Luke, emphasizing Luke 17:32, the second shortest verse in the scriptures. In the verse, Lot’s wife looks back, and her heart longs to be back in Sodom and Gomorrah. Elder Holland related this to our lives and how we tend to dwell too much on the past.

Elder Holland then talked about a greater need for faith. He taught that Lot’s wife lacked the faith needed to face the circumstances she was in. Faith is always pointed toward the future, Elder Holland said.

The subject of faith then turned to repentance as Elder Holland expressed the need to forgive oneself. He said there is something in us that fails to forgive ourselves of mistakes made in the past.

“Let people repent,” Elder Holland said. “Let people grow. Believe that people can change and improve.”

Elder Holland spoke of the danger in recalling past sins and transgressions of others. He then emphasized that God pleads for healing, and bringing up past mistakes does not help in that process.

People become guilty of the greater sin when they dig up the old sins of others, Elder Holland said. He advised BYU students to bury those sins like the Anti-Nephi-Lehies of the Book of Mormon.

Recalling past sins has the power to destroy marriages and relationships, Elder Holland said. He said it is similar to putting sand in the face of a loved one, and in the end of the sand fight everyone comes out dirty.

“God doesn’t as much care about where you’ve been as much as he cares about where you’re going,” Elder Holland said.

The 20-year general authority recounted an experience he had while attending BYU with his wife, Patricia, in which they passed through a difficult time financially. He said because of difficult circumstances, he had desires to turn back and quit, but his wife refused to let them. Elder Holland then pleaded with students to push away any desires to give up.

Elder Holland closed by encouraging students to live a full life with faith, hope and charity. He urged students to remember Lot’s wife and to use their own faith to prevail in the future.

You can read a transcript of his entire talk here or visit the BYU Speeches site to download a number of other media files, including an MP3 audio file of the address.

Contributing: Abby Lyman, NewsNet
Photo: Christine Armbruster/NewsNet

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