What is the worth of a human soul?
This past week, Elder Schwartz has been sick, so I have had quite a bit of study time. I took the opportunity to study some conference addresses from years past, and was drawn to the October 1994 General Conference. In it, Pres. Monson relates the story:
In March of 1967, early in my service as a member of the Council of the Twelve, I was attending a conference of the Monument Park West Stake in Salt Lake City. My companion for the conference was a member of the General Church Welfare Committee, Paul C. Child. President Child was a student of the scriptures. He had been my stake president during my Aaronic Priesthood years. Now we were together as conference visitors.
When it was his opportunity to participate, President Child took in hand the Doctrine and Covenants <http://lds.org/study/topics/doctrine-and-covenants?lang=eng> and left the pulpit to stand among the priesthood brethren to whom he was directing his message. He turned to section 18 and began to read:
“Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God. …“And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!”
President Child then raised his eyes from the scriptures and asked the brethren: “What is the worth of a human soul?” He avoided calling on a bishop, a stake president, or a high councilor for a response. Instead, he selected the president of an elders quorum-a brother who had been a bit drowsy and had missed the significance of the question.
The startled man responded, “Brother Child, could you please repeat the question?”
The question was repeated: “What is the worth of a human soul?”
I knew President Child’s style. I prayed fervently for that quorum president. He remained silent for what seemed like an eternity and then declared, “Brother Child, the worth of a human soul is its capacity to become as God.”
All present pondered that reply. Brother Child returned to the stand,leaned over to me, and said, “A profound reply; a profound reply!” He proceeded with his message, but I continued to reflect on that inspired response.
It is upon this subject that I would like to speak. Many people in the world today do not realize how much they are worth. To some, how much they are worth depends on how much cash they have in their wallet. To one and to all, I would like to proclaim that no one of us can comprehend, nor fully appreciate, how precious we are to our Heavenly Father. On God’s trophy shelf, you can find your name. Consequently, so is everyone else’s. We cannot in one breath acknowledge our own worth without acknowledging the worth of another. Every soul’s worth is great. How great is the need to let them know of their divine worth/potential!
The point of my emails is not to inform, or merely to uplift. I desire my words to be taken as a call to action. We should not have to wait for a special holiday, or a prompting from another to do good. We should be “anxiously engaged in a good cause” at all times, in all things, and in all places. We must show our faith through our actions. Not just through our thoughts, feelings, intentions, nor frankly, weekly emails home. No, we must be better than that.
In all that you do, remember this: agency is not our power to fail, but to become.
Faith and Honor,