You and I are here upon the earth to prepare for eternity, to learn how to learn, to learn things that are temporally important and eternally essential, and to assist others in learning wisdom and truth (see D&C 97:1). Understanding who we are, where we came from, and why we are upon the earth places upon each of us a great responsibility both to learn how to learn and to learn to love learning.
One of the most powerful sources of personal development will come through the urgent prayers you offer in faith for a foundation of righteousness. You will learn much as feelings distill in your mind and heart. Avoid prayers that appear to be a set of instructions to the Lord--do this, bless that, change this, help me with that. Rather, be a compliant student to the Ultimate Teacher. He wants you to succeed even more than you do yourself.
This is a time to set your course for life, a time to establish fundamental priorities. One of the challenges of your learning experience here is to be able to differentiate among the smorgasbord of good and bad things that can be done and to select those that are righteous and truly essential.
I am not trying to suggest that the redeeming and enabling powers of the Atonement are separate and discrete. Rather, these two dimensions of the Atonement are connected and complementary; they both need to be operational during all phases of the journey of life. And it is eternally important for all of us to recognize that both of these essential elements of the journey of life--both putting off the natural man and becoming a saint, both overcoming bad and becoming good--are accomplished through the power of the Atonement. Individual willpower, personal determination and motivation, and effective planning and goal setting are necessary but ultimately insufficient to triumphantly complete this mortal journey. Truly we must come to rely upon "the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah" (2 Nephi 2:8).
Somewhere between the two extremes of being too busy and not doing anything is that glorious, yet elusive, condition called balance. It’s by approaching the many aspects of our life with a sense of balance that we can be champions in life’s great decathlon.
When we place our perceived genealogical duties into the busy mix of life, we sometimes feel that it is the one event which could break our back. I think we feel that way because we view genealogy as a specialized event rather than one essential event in a decathlon effort. We imagine that to do this work in an acceptable manner we must have a book of remembrance thirty-seven inches thick, census records on every shelf, a permanent seat in the genealogical library, and family group sheets on every table top.
Some specialists are indeed this involved, but we don’t all need to be that involved to make an acceptable genealogical effort.
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