Just over a week ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Hawaii for some rest and relaxation and spiritual renewal. My book with Deseret Book, "Extraordinary Courage: Women Empowered by the Gospel of Jesus Christ," has gone to press, and I was there to relax and contemplate future projects.
My daughter-in-law’s parents are serving a mission at BYU-Hawaii and they graciously invited us to stay with them. Brother and Sister Bob and Mona Lee are in a home with a magnificent view from the patio of the ocean, the cove and mountains surrounding Laie Beach Park. On one corner of the patio there is a stack of buoys. Elder Lee explained to us that buoys occasionally float onto the shore. With stairs down to the ocean he’s taken to going down and lugging them off the beach and stacking them on the porch.
Sitting there one day, observing that natural paradise, I started thinking about buoys and the function they serve. When a boat drops anchor in a harbor it more often than not floats a buoy above the anchor. This allows individuals on the boat to know the location of the anchor if the boat, though still anchored, drifts some distance away.
Buoys then are markers. They mark an anchor. We read in scripture of the imperative of having Christ as our anchor, of being anchored to Jesus Christ in an increasingly troubled world that can, at times, be dangerous and difficult to navigate. Paul teaches in Hebrews 6:19 that “hope (in Jesus Christ)” is “an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.”
The remarkable Book of Mormon prophet Ether “did cry from the morning, even until the going down of the sun, exhorting the people to believe in God lest they should be destroyed.” Anchoring themselves to Christ would make place for them in “a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God (and) maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.” (Ether 12:2-4)
And we read in the winding-up scenes in the Book of Mormon of the great prophet and general Mormon who goes “forth among the Nephites” encouraging repentance but “was without hope, for I knew the judgments of the Lord should come upon them; for they repented not of their iniquities, but did struggle for their lives without calling upon that Being who created them.” (Mormon 5:1-2)
Because of their refusal to anchor themselves and their testimonies in Jesus Christ, where they had once been “a delightsome people, and had Christ for their shepherd (where) they were led even by God the Father behold, now, they are led about by Satan, even as chaff is driven before the wind, or as a vessel is tossed about upon the waves, without sail or anchor, or without anything wherewith to steer her” (Mormon 5:16-18).
While many claim that Christ is the anchor to their souls, it is worth considering some of the buoys, or markers, that truly indicate — that can help us locate and identify — how closely bound we are to the Savior. And I would suggest this list of markers is familiar to members of the church as it includes practices and behaviors we are consistently counseled to engage in by church leaders.
- We need to faithfully attend worship services, partake of the sacrament and renew our baptismal covenant, promising to “mourn with those that mourn comfort those that stand in need of comfort and stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9).
- We need to pray, to commune, to speak with God on a daily basis and to listen to him as he responds to our prayers.
- We need to not just read but to feast upon the word of God as we study and ponder the scriptures.
- We need to uphold the family, with husbands and wives faithful to one another, to hold regular family home evenings and teach the gospel by example in our homes and by so doing strengthen the bonds of love and affection between family members.
- We need to prepare and, as we are worthy, attend the temple on a regular basis.
- We need to fast and to pay full and honest tithes and offerings.
- And not a bad idea to add other markers to this list as individually directed by the Spirit.
We need to ensure that markers are in place and that we are truly anchored to Christ.
Kristine Frederickson writes on issue-oriented topics that affect members of the LDS Church worldwide in her column “LDS World."