We can become works of art, Elder Soares says

Published: Thursday, Nov. 7 2013 6:32 a.m. MST

Elder Ulisses Soares of the Presidency of the Seventy for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints addresses BYU students and faculty in the Marriott Center during a campus devotional on Nov. 5, 2013.

Marcos Escalona, BYU

All have the potential to become "beautiful works of art in the Lord's hands," said Elder Ulisses Soares of the Presidency of the Seventy for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during a campus devotional held in the Marriott Center at Brigham Young University on Nov. 5.

“Recognizing our dedication and perseverance, the Lord will give us what we are unable to obtain by ourselves,” he said. “He will shape us with his hammer and chisel because he sees our efforts to overcome our imperfections and human weaknesses.”

Using the example of the Italian sculptor Michelangelo, Elder Soares spoke of the artist’s skill in creating works of art with only a hammer and a chisel.

“When I think about the work he produced and the result he achieved, figuratively I think about the wonderful plan of love our Heavenly Father developed in consideration for each of us and for what he hoped we might become when he sent us here to earth.”

Every person on the earth was born with agency and great potential, he said. They have the choice to turn their life in the direction of God or to be distracted by the world.

“It is not easy to face temptation daily,” he said. “We are all exposed to an environment that is hostile to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We live in a world that is deteriorating morally.”

Using the teachings of President Thomas S. Monson, Elder Soares shared a simple formula — "You can't be right by doing wrong; you can't be wrong by doing right" — that helps individuals avoid the distraction of temptation and keeps them moving in the right direction.

“President Monson’s formula is simple and direct,” said Elder Soares. “If we exercise faith and are diligent in obeying the commandments of the Lord, we will easily find the right way to go when we face daily small choices and challenges.”

It is important for individuals to ask themselves, “Are my actions placing me in the Lord’s territory or the enemy’s territory?” It is through relying on the word of God, the light of Christ and the Holy Ghost that individuals are able to choose right. Because sometimes individuals end up sinning, reconciliation with God through repentance is necessary.

It is through that process of relying on the Savior that individuals are able to change into something so much greater than what they were by themself.

“Repentance is a wonderful gift which is available to all who desire to return to God,” he said. “It is available to those who have the desire to … allow the Lord to mold their lives into a wonderful work of art. Repentance allows the Lord to use a hammer and chisel to shape our lives and make us into a beautiful work of art."

Marianne Holman is a reporter for the LDS Church News in Salt Lake City. EMAIL: mholman@desnews.com

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