When many people not of our faith look at the Church, they often see only brick and mortar, policies and procedures, but the greatness of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not lie in buildings or programs.
The greatness of this church lies in the individual testimonies and commitment of its members. Often this commitment is manifested in the quiet acts of love and caring that thousands of members do each day as they reach out and touch the lives of others.It is something the world knows little about.
Quiet deeds of love and kindness are like a beacon on the shore guiding those in need through the dangerous waters of life. they don't make the headlines for all to see, but they do make a real difference in the lives of those who may be saved form troubled waters.
Take the case of Mary (not her real name).
She had grown up in an active Latter-day Saint home in a mid-sized city. However during the summer before her senior year in high school, she had numerous conflicts with her parents - conflicts caused mostly by the way she was now living. Her lifestyle was out of harmony with the way she was taught.
When the conflicts worsened, she left home, moving in with a married sister.
"About this time," related her Young Woman adviser, "we had a lesson in the Laurel class on helping our friends and bringing them back into the Church. We decided to make Mary our number one priority.
"The other girls in class would call her and invite her to our activities, but there was little reponse. We then decided that we would write her a letter, telling her that we loved her and wanted her to come back."
The letter was mailed, and apparently it struck a responsive chord.
One Sunday a short time later, Mary came back, and attended her Laurel class, much to the joy of the other girls who had so much wanted her to return.
A simple act of kindness. A short letter written expressing a simple message of, "We love you and need you and want you to come back."
Mary responded to the light of the beacon.
Now a member of the Laurel class presidency, mary knows the importance of the Young Women values, one of which deals with individual worth - "I am of infinite worth with my own divine mission, which I will strive to fulfill."
The other girls in the Laurel class knew that, yes, Mary is of infinite worth as a daughter of god. Mary now also realizes it.
"Remeber," the Savior said in a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1829, "the worth of souls is great in the sight of God." (D&C 18:10)
Accounts of kind and loving deeds in a quiet, simple way, such as this, are innumeralbe throughout the Church. It is what makes this Church great.>
Put into terms of everyday living, it is really the message of the Savior when He said, ". . . Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me." (Matt. 25:40.)
A simple letter written, a life changed, a daughter returned to the fold. "lovest though me?" Peter was asked three times by the reurrected Savior. And each time after Peter answered that he did, he was commanded, "Feed my sheep." (John 21:15-17.) The Savior repeated the admonition in our dispensation in 1837 when He declared, "Arise and gird up your loins, take up your cross, follow me, and feed my sheep" (D&C 112:15).
There are many "Marys" in the Church, seeking a loving and kind hand to help them find their way back. there are also many young men who are groping for a spiritual identity. Will we be the one to reach out to these young people? Will we be the one to light the beacon for them to follow?