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Learn to love, give

- Hearken to the Spirit

- Choose to do Father's will.

God wants His "offspring" and "heirs" to become all that they can be, to qualify for their inheritance, but they must choose to do so, said Elder Marion D. Hanks Sunday morning.

"Because of our Father's great love for His children, and because of His commitment to freedom of choice for them, mankind has from the beginning enjoyed the opportunity to choose for themselves," he added.

Elder Hanks, who was released as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy Aug. 15, was granted emeritus status Saturday afternoon. He had served as a General Authority for 39 years.

"Our Heavenly Father and His Son desire that all mankind be led by the light, but that blessing will not be imposed upon anyone," he explained. "Christ stands at the door and knocks; those who wish to have Him enter and sup with them must hear His voice and `open the door.' (Rev. 3:20.)

"Thus two great principles on which the gospel is centered, love and agency, are plainly taught. Each of us is here to learn to love and give and hearken to the Spirit, and choose to do the will of the Father."

Elder Hanks said he has found great satisfaction in finding so much that is good in so many places and from so many sources.

"In every field of activity with which I have been involved I have had the privilege of associating with people of character and quality who have shared much of value with me.

"Truly, light from the Source has shone through all the world," he reflected. "We rejoice in this, and have a humble witness to bear: God is a living, revealing, communicating Father."

When the rich resources of ancient prophets and writers in the Bible are joined with the supporting and enhancing truths available in the scriptures of the Restoration, clarifying light and knowledge come to the most important questions mankind has asked through the ages, today and in the future, Elder Hanks continued.

These questions "deal with the truth about God and Christ and the Holy Spirit - the Godhead - about man himself, about mortal life and its meaning and purposes, and about eternity and its promises.

"God does not deny us the experience we came here to have," he explained. "He does not insulate us from tribulation or guarantee immunity from trouble. Much of the pain we suffer and inevitably impose upon others is self-induced through our own bad judgment, through poor choices."

But " . . . in times of sorrow and affliction, if we endure and remain faithful and put our trust in Him, and are courageous, the Lord will visit us in our afflictions, strengthen us to carry our burdens and support us in our trials."

Elder Hanks concluded: "He'll be with us to the end of our days, lift us at the last day to greater opportunities for service, and exalt us at last with Him and our reunited loved ones, and He will consecrate our afflictions to our gain."