Young Women: 'More holiness give me'
It's easy. Send a link to the story you were just reading to a friend. Just fill out the form on this page and we'll send it along.
Several weeks ago, out my office window, I saw an amazing site as I gazed at the Salt Lake Temple. A man positioned in the bucket of a mechanical aerial lift was applying a new layer of gold leaf to the words carved on the east side of the temple, "Holiness to the Lord."
As I watched him, I wondered what it must feel like to actually touch those sacred words, to place hands on the surface that was chiseled painstakingly by the consecrated hands of the pioneers. The sight filled me with wonder and awe as I literally watched those words transform before me, take on new brightness, and glisten in the sun.
What do the words "Holiness to the Lord" mean? President James E. Faust described this state of being: "Holiness is the strength of the soul. It comes by faith and through obedience to God's laws and ordinances. God then purifies the heart by faith, and the heart becomes purged from that which is profane and unworthy. When holiness is achieved by conforming to God's will, one knows intuitively that which is wrong and that which is right before the Lord. Holiness speaks when there is silence, encouraging that which is good or reproving that which is wrong" (Standing in Holy Places, p. 62).
In an address on becoming a Zion people, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve taught, "We are to become not only good but holy men and women ("Come to Zion," Ensign, November 2008, p. 39).
Holiness is a divine gift, which is made possible by the Savior's Atonement. It is possible to become more and more holy as we repent of our sins, and as we make and keep sacred covenants with the Lord.
At this season of the year, as our hearts are turned to the Savior, we think on that little child, so pure and holy, born and laid in a manger. Perhaps amidst the hustle and the bustle, we should pause and ask — "What can I do to become more holy?" More fit for the kingdom, more used, and more like the Savior?
The Lord said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself … all ungodliness, and every worldly lust, and keep my commandments." (See Matthew 16:24; JST, Matthew 16:26.) He expects His disciples to follow Him by their actions.
In the coming year, as a Young Women general presidency, we will continue to ask young women everywhere to act to increase their faith by doing three things:
1. Pray morning and evening
2. Read in the Book of Mormon each day.
3. Smile as they remember that they are beloved daughters of our Heavenly Father.
In addition to this, in 2011 we will be adding a fourth invitation. We will be asking each young woman to become familiar with and to obey and live the standards in the "For the Strength of Youth." Doing these simple things will invite the companionship and guidance of the Holy Ghost. And, as their leaders, we will be doing exactly what we are asking the young women to do.
These small things done consistently, every day, will make a big difference in the lives of our young women, in our own personal lives, in our families and in our communities. Holiness begins with small righteous actions done consistently. At the close of this year and the beginning of a new year, perhaps each of us might also begin a personal inventory and ask ourselves, as King Lamoni's father did, "What must I do to have this spirit?"
"'What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy?'" (Alma 22:15).
The king's father's desire was so great that he committed "'I will give away all my sins to know thee.'" This commitment is the beginning of becoming more holy and pure.
In this season of giving, and remembering and celebration of our Savior's birth, can we also determine as King Lamoni's father did, to "give away all [of our] sins" and offer a gift of more "holiness to the Lord?"
Perhaps we will all want to obtain and read a copy of "For the Strength of Youth." The guidelines, principles and standards found in this little pamphlet literally have the potential to change hearts and homes. They will qualify a person for the companionship of the Holy Ghost and to be worthy to enter holy temples. These simple standards have the potential to change the world, if lived. Perhaps each of us can determine to more fully live each standard or to begin by living the standard that is hardest for us to live. Perhaps we might determine to give away something in our lives that is keeping us from being more holy. Since becoming more holy requires repentance, self-control, and sacrifice, each of us can achieve this, one thought and one act at a time.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, reminded us: "As we draw near to Heavenly Father, we become more holy. And as we become more holy, we will overcome disbelief and our souls will be filled with His blessed light. ("The Love of God," Ensign, November 2009, pp. 21–24). As we do this, our lives will begin to reflect His.
And we will not only become more holy but more happy!
As we contemplate the birth of the Savior, we may envision two groups of people who had the opportunity to witness this miraculous and holy event. They were the "Inn crowd" and the "Stable group."
The people in the "Inn crowd" were busy, enjoying all the pleasures of life, but they were distracted. They were perhaps too preoccupied and distracted to recognize the holy couple who asked for a room in the inn that sacred night the Savior of the world was born. They did not see nor did they witness the humble birth of the holy baby, laid in a lowly manger.
However, those in the "Stable group" were humble followers of righteousness. They were simple, focused, and hard working. They were "quick to observe." (David A. Bednar, devotional address given at Brigham Young University on May 10, 2005.)
The angelic host announced the birth of the Savior to those prepared hearts and ears. Both humble shepherds and wise men from the East were given the privilege to witness the Savior's arrival, perhaps because they were obedient, humble followers of prophetic teachings.
Perhaps the words of the hymn "More Holiness Give Me," describe best the prayer of every parent, every leader of young women everywhere:
More holiness give me, More strivings within,
More patience in suff'ring, More sorrow for sin,
More faith in my Savior, More sense of his care,
More joy in his service, More purpose in prayer.
More purity give me, more strength to o'ercome,
More freedom from earth-stains, more longings for home.
More fit for the kingdom, more used would I be,
More blessed and holy — more, Savior, like Thee (Hymns p. 131).
The Apostle Peter tells us that when we possess these traits we are not "unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:8).
At this Christmas season, we as a general Young Women presidency express our love to the leaders of young women — to parents, priesthood leaders, young women presidencies, advisers and camp leaders. We express our gratitude for your righteous lives and your examples of holiness.
Your work, your focus, your humility and dedication are making a difference and each of you is playing a part in helping His precious daughters draw closer to the Savior and to be more pure, more holy, and more fit for the kingdom.
Like the words on the temple, in the coming year we, too, can take on a new brightness. We, too, can transform and change because of the holy life and the infinite Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ — this little baby lain in a manger so long ago. To know the Savior is to be like Him.
"Holiness to the Lord." Words carved on every temple will then be written in every heart.