Be inspired by and consecrated to "the better cause of Christ and His Church," Elder Anthony D. Perkins told BYU-Idaho students at their weekly devotional Tuesday afternoon.
"Prophets and kings yearned for the time in which we now live because there are more Church members and more temple-worthy people than in any other dispensation," said Elder Perkins, a General Authority Seventy. "Every other dispensation ended in apostasy. In our day a people will be prepared for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ."
The theme of fighting for a "better cause" found in The Book of Mormon in Alma 43:45 served as the inspiration for Elder Perkins' remarks.
After sharing social media posts from students talking about the causes that motivate them, Elder Perkins remarked that there are many still searching for their cause.
"There may be thousands of young women and men in and out of the Lord's Church who long for inspired direction and ask, 'Is there not a better cause?'" Elder Perkins said.
Reports that 90 percent of this generation are willing to pay more for products if the company supports a cause surprised Elder Perkins. He said the "commitment to positive changes" is one of the reasons to love the younger generation.
"Your generation loves causes because they are dynamic and can positively change the world," Elder Perkins said. "The Lord must also love a cause as that word is in the scriptures more than 600 times."
Yet the uptick in supporting a good cause has also resulted in less trust of organized institutions. Elder Perkins said even though history does favor institutions, many of the most successful causes are ones that have become organized institutions. Such is the case with the Church, Elder Perkins said.
"I recognize The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has institutional attributes, but I testify that the Church is more than just an institution," Elder Perkins said.
Every part of the Church, from handbooks and lesson manuals to the hymns and meetings, is done with a specific purpose: To bring people to Christ, Elder Perkins said.
"The Church was organized by Jesus Christ to fulfill the Father's cause to gather His family on both sides of the veil," Elder Perkins said. "This is the greatest cause in the history of the earth."
Cautioning not to wait until Zion comes in order to start preparing, Elder Perkins discussed three attributes of the kingdom of God on earth that can help members be more consecrated to the cause of Zion.
Unity is the first characteristic of a people that are prepared for the Second Coming. Christ cautioned that "if ye are not one ye are not mine," Elder Perkins reminded.
"Ironically, group unity begins with personal repentance," Elder Perkins said. "If we are at war with God, we can never be at peace with our fellow man."
Elder Perkins spoke of the Church's new approach of ministering, saying loving one another regardless of race or sex is a trait of being a disciple of Christ and pleaded with members to "love more and judge less."
"We must shun bigotry of every kind," Elder Perkins said. There is no room in this Church for sexism, racism, homophobia, Islamaphobia, immigrantaphobia or any other phobia. There is room in this Church for everyone."
Although the Lord showed love for all, He did not excuse sin and there are standards of behavior, Elder Perkins said. He told the story of the woman taken in adultery, emphasizing that while Christ did not condemn the woman, He directed her to "sin no more."
Elder Perkins said we need to follow the Savior's example and love more, judge less while people make the needed changes in their lives. This is especially true, he said, of the members of our own families and wards.
"I have seen such unity and love in Church congregations around the world," Elder Perkins said and asked for those in attendance to immediately help "shape a ward culture of love and unity."
Righteousness is a characteristic of "a people ready to greet the Savior."
"True disciples of Jesus Christ go about lifting people to a higher spiritual plane, beginning in their own homes," Elder Perkins said.
The term "clicktivism" relates to the use of taking advantage of social media in order to help promote a good cause. Even though causes may be good, Elder Perkins said the Lord "expects more of his disciples than a mouse click."
"Dwelling in righteousness requires each of us to both do and become," Elder Perkins said.
Doing the "basics" such as attending sacrament meeting, reading scriptures and praying daily allows the companionship of the Holy Ghost and push away temptations, but Elder Perkins said it is not enough to do things. Quoting President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency, he said the final judgement is more than just what we have done, "It is an acknowledgement of the final effect of our acts and thoughts — what we have become."
Elder Perkins saw the shift from "doing" to "becoming" happen often as a mission president. Missionaries often started out "doing missionary things" like learning the language and building teaching skills, but eventually started "becoming a missionary" by using their talents to help people change their lives.
"Church members often think they can only be a contributor to the cause of Zion if they look like the flawless, stereotypical Mormon with a loving temple marriage, faithful children and an endlessly happy mortal existence," Elder Perkins said. "Such an outcome bay not be yours during this life. But as you consecrate your God-given gifts and unique talents to bless others, you will become more saintly and will meaningfully contribute to a righteous society no matter your circumstances."
"Caring for the poor has always been in the heart of the Savior and His prophets," Elder Perkins said.
The addition of "care for the poor and needy" to the mission of the Church has caused many members to ask what they can do for those in need, Elder Perkins said.
Contributing to the work of the Church through fast offerings helps members in your area is one way Elder Perkins suggests helping. Donating to the humanitarian fund helps the Church accomplish things no member can do alone.
Elder Perkins' current assignment is to oversee Church operations in the Middle East. They have helped starving people in Yemen and build schools and facilities to help refugees pouring into the country.
Sharing a story about his daughter, Elder Perkins related how she went to help flood victims in Louisiana by mucking out their homes. Her experience there helped prepare her for the impact Hurricane Harvey would have when it hit their area in Houston.
"In her role as Relief Society president, our daughter coordinated relief efforts within her ward boundaries," Elder Perkins said. "People wept as they saw Church members in Helping Hands shirts come to assist."
Elder Perkins noted that serving independent of the Church is also wonderful, using the example of his wife, who regularly volunteers with a charity run by a different church.
"Following the example of the Savior, we each need to have our eyes open to those who are in need and reach out to help them during the course of our normal day," Elder Perkins said.
Elder Perkins concluded by once again inviting students to consecrate their lives to the cause of Christ and His Church and said always striving to do so would result in "greater blessings than you can imagine."
"Like Captain Moroni of old, I urge you to be inspired by a better cause than the many good causes that surround you in mortality," Elder Perkins said.
Each individual, including yourself, is also a part of Heavenly Father's and Christ's cause, and they "want to help you become someone wonderful, and indeed, glorious," Elder Perkins said.
Living the cause of Christ will lead to being prepared for judgement day and Christ's return, not just for the individual, but for all those around them as well, Elder Perkins said.
"Remember also that every person around you is also His cause," Elder Perkins said. "His cause includes your parents, spouse, children, neighbors, strangers and enemies. Thus, Jesus Christ commands us to love them and calls us to participate in His work of salvation for them."