A Latter-day Saint’s pathway to eternal life can be compared to an Olympic athlete’s four-minute performance, said Bishop Gary E. Stevenson.
“You are an eternal being,” said the Church’s Presiding Bishop, directing his remarks to young men, young women and young single adults. “Before you were born, you existed as a spirit. In the presence of a loving Heavenly Father, you trained and prepared to come to earth for a brief moment, and, well, perform. This life is your four minutes. While you are here, your actions will determine whether you win the prize of eternal life.”
Speaking during the Sunday-morning session, Bishop Stevenson noted that 10 Latter-day Saint athletes participated in the recent Olympic Winter Games; three of those athletes earned medals: Christopher Fogt, Noelle Pikus-Pace and Torah Bright.
For those athletes years of preparation would be considered either a success or a disappointment based on what happened in the space of a few intense minutes, he said.
“In a sense, your four minutes have already begun,” he said. “The clock is ticking.
“In the same way that certain steps are essential in the very brief performance of an Olympic athlete, jumps or maneuvers for ice skaters and snowboarders, negotiating the turns of a bobsled turn, or carving through the gates of a downhill slalom course, so it is in our lives where certain things are absolutely essential — check points which move us through our spiritual performance on earth. These spiritual markers are the essential God-given ordinances of the gospel: baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, priesthood ordinations, temple ordinances and partaking of the sacrament each week.”
Bishop Stevenson said during general conference the Spirit may have whispered to Latter-day Saints the things they must do to ensure their spiritual medal.
“Whatever it may be, do it now. Don’t wait. Your four minutes will pass quickly and you’ll have eternity to think about what you did in this life.”
Self-discipline is needed, he said, noting that daily prayer, scripture study and Church attendance must be the training foundation.
“Perhaps you’re not aware of things in your life that are threatening to slow or stop your spiritual progress. It is not too late to repent. But it soon may be, because no one really knows when your four minutes will be over.”
Concluding, he said, “Dear friends, you are in the midst of an exhilarating journey. In some ways, you are racing down the half-pipe or sled track, and it can be challenging to perform each element or navigate each turn along the way. But remember, you’ve prepared for this for millennia. This is your moment to perform. This is your four minutes. The time is now.”