A while ago, I had invited our local missionaries over for dinner. I was hoping to make dessert but didn’t know what to make. Then I remembered I had a favorite brownie recipe. Typically, when I get in a hurry, I fail to read instructions clearly as in this case. I threw everything together and baked it only to have brownies that had a weird consistency and didn’t quite bake properly. But it was my favorite recipe? How could I mess this up when I used the recipe so many times before?
The recipe itself didn’t change but how I applied it certainly did. The next time I made the brownies, I followed the instructions in proper order and ended up with a beautiful result.
The eternal truths of the gospel could be compared to my brownie recipe. Those principles or instructions do not change but sometimes the procedures around their application do.
We have seen changes throughout the history of the Church; from what to drink for the sacrament in its early years to allowing twelve-years-olds limited use temple recommends, there have been changes. I find that I keep the gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints separate. The gospel is unchanging and perfect. The Church is inspired yet when any organization is run by mortals, we will run into flaws.
We have seen changes from visiting teaching to ministering as one of the Lord’s purposes for His Church is to care for saints. We have seen shortened meeting times, changes to the youth programs and working toward reaching out to others of different beliefs in love and kindness. Though the principles do not change, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints adapts to its surroundings in a way as to bring light and love yet stand as a beacon to the world which points to the path of happiness.
Elder L. Tom Perry said, “Surely there could not be any doctrine more strongly expressed in the scriptures than the Lord’s unchanging commandments and their connection to our happiness and well-being as individuals, as families, and as a society. There are moral absolutes. Disobedience to the Lord’s commandments will always deprive us of His blessings. These things do not change.” 1
I love knowing that I live virtuously as the righteous women of scripture. I can have courage in the face of destruction like Captain Moroni and be obedient to the holy laws of God like the stripling warriors. I have often wondered what if I met Captain Moroni on his land in his time? I would recognize him by the principles he lived by. If I met any of the ancient prophets or righteous peoples, I would recognize them, and they would recognize me by actions even if we didn’t speak the same language.
Elder Perry also said, “The world changes constantly and dramatically, but God, His commandments, and promised blessings do not change. They are immutable and unchanging.”1 We can trust in the Savior and the principles of the gospel to lead us home as we are obedient to eternal laws.
1 “Obedience to Law is Liberty”, Elder L. Tom Perry, General Conference, April 2013