Each person has the ability to progress and make meaningful changes in his or her life, Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy told students at a devotional at LDS Business College on Tuesday, Sept. 18.
He encouraged students to remember that the gospel of Jesus Christ allows people to change.
Many Church members say they cannot change and might have given up on their own ability to improve and progress, he said. However, he added, those who believe this are mistaken.
"With boldness may I declare that is contrary to the doctrine of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ," Elder Hallstrom declared. "All of us, with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atoning sacrifice can change and overcome and improve."
He gave an example of a man in India who had a physical disability that would have doomed him to live the life of a beggar. However, the man listened to the missionaries and learned what he had the capacity to become in this life and the next. He learned about the gospel and was baptized. Because he had made commitments to the Lord, he served a mission and eventually took his family to the temple. If this man had listened to the world, he would have lived the life of a beggar. However, because he was able to expand his perception of who he could become and follow through with his commitments, he lived an excellent life. He became a school teacher for his entire village.
Elder Hallstrom told students they are in school to learn and gain experiences and ultimately become more stable financially. However, he said the greater learning comes by making commitments, covenants and promises and staying disciplined in order to honor those promises.
"Raise your vision. Have confidence, have hope, have an understanding in the ways of the Lord that indeed this is the time that you can change," he said.
Elder Hallstrom said he personally gained a knowledge of and trust for the Savior through prayer and study. An important turning point in his life was when he came to know, understand and reverence the Savior above all else. Although it changed the course of his life, challenges and hardships still exist. He now sees trials as a way of refining individuals to become more like God.
"Through that fundamental, foundational, most important knowledge, there has never been a thought of giving up. There has never been a thought of quitting, saying, 'It's too much. I can't do it,' " he said. "There has been a perfect brightness of hope, knowing that through whatever difficulties and challenges, that we can improve, we can change, we can overcome because we have faith in Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice."
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