Changed Men Change The World


I once knew a man who had reached the ripe age of ninety. He is a man who had seen much over his lifetime. At one point in his life he drifted away from the gospel of Jesus Christ. He told the story of how, during that time, he was out horseback riding in the Teton Mountains with his priesthood leader.  As they reached a peak at the top of the ridge, they stopped to view the magnificence of the view. While there his leader said to him, “Stand up in your stirrups and reach as high as you can!” When he did so, his leader said, “You know, if you don’t change the course of your life that is as close to heaven as you will ever get!” Apparently it had its intended impact as this man became active in the gospel and has been so since.

Although this story was told in a humorous way it showed that this man had not taken offense to the counsel given to him by his priesthood leader. He certainly could have chosen to be so, but he didn’t. I’m sure that the words of instruction were intended to build, not destroy. Sometimes it takes the courage of two people to bring about blessings for the one. It is not always the most pleasant task to give council when it is needed, but not wanted. And it is equally difficult to listen to those who tell us that we need to make changes in our life. From time to time, over the course of our lifetime, we will probably find ourselves on both sides of this equation.

Ezra T. Bensen once said, “The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment…”Yes, Christ changes men, and changed men can change the world” (Ezra Taft Benson, “Born of God,” Ensign, Jul 1989).

Indeed, “changed men can change the world.” As a parent it is not always “fun” to be the “corrector.” But part of being a good parent is having the courage to “sound the alarm” and to guide and direct, even when it is uncomfortable to do so. It is equally challenging to “correct” when serving in positions of authority in the church. Yet, these responsibilities cannot be ignored. May we be courageous enough to correct those that the Lord has entrusted in our care. May we be humble enough to accept correction from those in authority in our lives. If not, it is likely that a “Teton’s view of heaven” is the best vista we will ever get!

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