News Release

Apostle Delivers Message in Johannesburg

"Be an agent that acts, rather than objects that are being acted upon"

Employees and Area missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were thrilled at the opportunity to be taught by an Apostle of the Lord, Elder David A. Bednar, during a Special Devotional held on the grounds of the historic Endulini residence in Parktown.

Elder Bednar, a member of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, began his message with a question he was once asked: "In every talk, you always emphasize being an agent that acts, rather than objects that are being acted upon. Why is that so important?"

Elder Bednar said he answered by explaining that we are all blessed with moral agency, which is what distinguishes children of God. He continued, “Agency is far more than choosing; it is the ability to act and not be acted upon.” He reminded the audience that we all know many things, but translating what we know into what we do is essential.

He further stressed the fact that as agents, we should offer prayers that ask in faith, with the expectation to act, saying, “There is a big difference between praying to know versus praying to do.”

Speaking directly to those in the audience who were church employees, Elder Bednar said, “Being a church employee is not a calling, but it is more than a job.” He went on to say that the success of any organization is based on really good people…then really good people who do what they’re supposed to do…and most of all, really good people who do what they’re supposed to do and then do MORE than they’re supposed to do.

In closing remarks, Elder Bednar compared Africa to Nauvoo (one of the early cities in Mormon history). He expressed that in some ways, coming to Africa today is like going to Nauvoo - there is a compression of the time. He recognizes that Africa has a simplicity like in Nauvoo, because they have the simple, basic truths of the gospel. He noted that many missionaries who come to serve in Africa are converted here. In Elder Bednar’s words, “This is the next stage of pioneers. There were pioneers in the 1800's in Salt Lake City. Africa can be the next phase of pioneers in the Church.”

He closed with his testimony, saying, “This Church is living because Jesus Christ lives. As you ponder, pray and are an agent that acts, much more of what you know will be what you consistently do.”

Elder Bednar and his wife, Susan, have been in Southeast Africa for the annual Area Review, which included visits to Madagascar, Mauritius and La Reunion. They were accompanied by Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife, Diane, who held a similar devotional the same afternoon with temple workers and missionaries on the grounds of the Johannesburg Temple.

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