A friend who had been disciplined by the Church and now is not a member asked Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Council of the Twelve "What can I do while I'm waiting?"
Elder Ashton used his Sunday morning address to answer his friend's question. "Perhaps I am only directing my suggestions to a few, but they are a precious few," he said.Elder Ashton first counseled Church members to heed the scriptures and minister to all of God's children and not be indifferent to those with needs.
"Never should we in life allow ourselves to turn away, walk on the other side of the street and pretend we didn't see, or prohibit involvement in accepted ways," he said.
In answer to his friend's question, Elder Ashton quoted from 3 Ne. 9:14, and explained that the scripture shows there is no waiting period before one can come unto God. He suggested daily prayer and scripture study.
"Self-esteem can be renewed, and strength to do His will will be revived," he said. "People must always count more than programs."
As people come unto Christ, he continued, they learn the reality of forgiveness. He quoted from D&C 58:42-43, where the Lord said that if people repent, they will confess and forsake their sins. If the Lord forgives them, He promises to remember the sins no more.
"When a man is convinced of the truth of this scripture . . ., he is ready to start coming back to full fellowship," Elder Ashton added.
Then, he suggested how individuals who may have had Church discipline can "shun" and "participate."
(BU) Shun feelings of resentment, bitterness and contention toward individuals rendering decisions.
He also warned against self-inflicted sympathy. "It is good medicine to sympathize with others, but not with yourself."
(BU) Shun discouragement. "One of Satan's most powerful tools is discouragement."
(BU) Shun escape routes. "There are those who would welcome you into rebellious or apostate groups. We never can build with purpose if we join the ranks of those who criticize and aim to tear down." It's easier to blame others for the situation than to repent and grow, he said.
(BU) Shun the desire to become anonymous. "There are those who will listen, help and teach. There will be opportunities to study scriptures, ponder and pray. Caring people and a caring God want to know where you are.
"We should never lose sight of what we may become and who we are. While waiting there are many ways to participate," Elder Ashton said.
These include becoming involved in family projects and in helping family members in need; participating in Church functions and meetings; particicipating in worthy community projects, including compassionate service; and "reporting in" to someone with whom one can share concerns, questions and progress.