The following short essay of mine appeared in the “Living By The Scriptures” column of the LDS Church News on August 28, 2004:
And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God. -Moroni 9:6, The Book of Mormon
The world is growing more wicked and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. The signs of the times are clear: the Second Coming is close.
These thoughts and some discouraging experiences had let me slacken my hand in reaching out and helping to improve the world. If the world is not going to turn around, I wondered, why bother trying? I saw my wife and many others anxiously engaged, striving to do even the smallest good. But I felt that I was closing my heart even more. I was doing less service and, in my mind, focusing on physical preparation for the Second Coming. Soon, I had to admit that I was losing charity, often not giving others the chances they deserved, judging them instead.
One morning before going to the temple with my wife, at random I came upon Moroni 9:6 in the Book of Mormon. Mormon knew that the Nephites were doomed; he had seen them falling apart over his whole lifetime. Now, near the very end, he was counseling his son to keep working with them, no matter how much they might reject him. Why? What was the point? According to Mormon, this struggle is not just for the good of those we serve, but is crucial to our own growth as well.
Pondering this reminded me that the Savior willingly suffered for the pains of all mankind, fully knowing that only a fraction of His family would be grateful enough to take advantage of it. If we are to become like Christ, I realized, then we must follow Him in serving mankind, even if it seems to bear no fruit. Our salvation depends on it.