Tuesday, April 5, 2011

UPLift: To Be Or Not To Be?

I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Twice a year we Saints gather all over the world in our separate meeting houses and homes and join as the body of the church to participate in what we call general conference. The speakers and many members gather in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, the other 14 million of us watch or listen via internet, satellite or radio in every corner of the globe. This was the 181st consecutive year that this has been held. I find I am always edified and taught as we gather together as saints for we,"talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. (2Ne 25:26)" 

So, that being said. Anyone remember the little thought that I had a few weeks ago that went something like this: "BE" remarkable...as apposed to "ACTING" remarkable."  It is something that I have been pondering for a while now.  Turns out, I am not the only one.  Elder Lynn G. Robbins gave a remarkable talk on this very subject during our conference. Whether you are of my faith or not, it is a profound and powerful sermon on the importance of BEING the kind of person we want to be as opposed to simply acting or doing in the manner. I am sorry that the text only version is not available yet, so the link is to the video, but it is not long and well worth it. He said it so much better than I could have.
                 "To be or not to be? That is actually a very good question." He begins.
In a spiritual sense, Christ posed this very question, "What manner of men ought ye to be?" For Christians the answer is that we want to become like Christ. In a more general sense even outside of Christianity, I believe that we desire to become the best possible version of ourselves. Elder Robbins goes on to say that Be and Do are inseparable. They are interdependent. Our faith for instance, inspires prayer, and prayer in turn leads to an increase of faith.

On a lighter note he jokes, "People often create a "to do" lists...but rarely have "to be" lists. Why?" Perhaps we should? He illustrates this point noting that he could take his wife out next weekend for a lovely date and check that off his "to do" list, but to BE a good husband is internal. Being a good spouse is part of one's character or nature, part of who we are. Or, I think, who we can become anyway, as most of us are still works in progress! Or for example, when do we check a child off our "to do" list as "DONE"? The answer, of course, is that we are never done BEING good parents.

Bottom line... "To be" lists are not seen, but hopefully they are the motivating force behind our "do's." As we teach our children and interact with our families, friends and even strangers, cultivating our "to be" list will lead us to more authentic actions. Hopefully more Christlike actions. Kindness, charity, mercy and love. These are things that I want to become part of my nature. Part of who I am. Do I fall short? Often. Do I try again? Always.  Being, doing, being more, doing again. It is a process. I am still under construction. There are days when it feels like the rafters are sagging and I may have to start all over, but no. With a firm foundation we can simply regroup, reinforce and occasionally even add-on if necessary. I think Nike had it wrong...
                                                             Just BE it!

Quote of the Day: " We cannot become what we need to be, remaining what we are." --Max Depree author


  1. This was my favorite from conference!!!

    Loved the analogy . . . especially because I recently finished a CES class from Bruce Satterfield wherein he shared that our real challenge in this life is 'becoming.' As in, becoming like our Savior and Heavenly Father, becoming the person our Heavenly Father wants us to be, and becoming sanctified, holy and pure.

    Excellent summary! :D


  2. a great talk. and a superb conference. you are so eloquent with words.

  3. Great post! This was one of my favorite talks as well. I also loved how he used his hands each time he talked about 'be' and 'do'. Very visual and something that really made sense to me!

  4. I loved this talk! Conference was so great!

  5. Great post. I didn't hear the talk because we were in Israel and only got the first session. But I am looking forward to listening to all the others--especially this one.

  6. I am so making a "to be" list.

  7. I wrote about the same talk this week! His talk was very powerful. http://wanderingstill.blogspot.com/2011/04/church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day.html

  8. I think this may have been my favorite talk. I have been thinking and thinking about it... it was just SO GOOD for me.