At the Historians Against Slavery conference, I quoted the words of the great Nephite prophet Jacob who condemned those who had “obtained many riches,” who were “lifted up in pride and persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they.” Jacob warned, “Before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you.” Use your substance “to do good — to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted” (Jacob 2:13, 17-19).
I left the conference and the Freedom Center in a somber, reflective mood. I came away humbly grateful for my myriad blessings, and with a heightened awareness of the depth and breadth of suffering in the world today. I came away knowing of the need to provide to others practical, temporal assistance. I came away knowing how desperately the world needs to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As Elder Christofferson attested, “As disciples of Jesus Christ, we ought to do all we can to redeem others from suffering and burdens. Even so, our greatest redemptive service will be to lead them to Christ. Without his redemption from death and from sin, we have only a gospel of social justice. That may provide some help and reconciliation in the present, but it has not power to draw down from heaven perfect justice and infinite mercy. Ultimate redemption is in Jesus Christ and in him alone.”
Kristine Frederickson writes on issue-oriented topics that affect members of the LDS Church worldwide in her column “LDS World." She teaches part-time at BYU. Her views do not necessarily represent those of BYU.
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