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Spirit of service rises from witness that gospel is true

- Best taught at home

- Essential to happiness- Is a feeling that accompanies a testimony

"The willingness of Latter-day Saints to respond to calls, to serve - their desire to do the will of the Lord - arises from the individual witness that the gospel of Jesus Christ, restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith and contained in the Book of Mormon, is true."

So declared President Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, in his address Saturday morning.

After saying that baptism is a call to lifelong service to Christ, President Packer added that the response to calls is only a small part of the service given by members of the Church.

He identified two kinds of service: "One, the service we render when we are called to serve in the Church; the other, the service we willingly give to those around us because we are taught to care."

President Packer spoke of a woman who sees a need and serves, rather than waiting to be called or asked. "She learned that spirit of service from her mother," he said. "The spirit of service is best taught at home.

"We must teach our children by example and tell them that an unselfish spirit is essential to happiness."

He said that no service in the Church or in the community transcends that given in the home. "Leaders should be very sure that a call to serve in the Church will not weaken the family," he cautioned. "Generally, callings in the Church help parents be better parents."

He spoke of the pattern for issuing official callings in the Church, set forth in the Fifth Article of Faith, and said: "It is not in the proper spirit for us to decide where we will serve or where we will not. We serve where we are called. It does not matter what the calling may be."

He said that the sustaining vote is "not just to approve; it is a commitment to support."

Further, he said that when leaders set someone apart, they do more than authorize service. "They pronounce a blessing. It is a marvelous thing to receive a blessing from the Lord Jesus Christ through the hands of His servants. That blessing can cause changes in the life of the one called or in the family."

President Packer further said: "While we do not ask to be released from a calling, if our circumstances change, it is quite in order for us to counsel with those who issued our call and then let the decision rest with them. Nor should we feel rejected when we are released by the same authority and with the same inspiration by which we were called."

President Packer said that the spirit of service "does not come by assignment. It is a feeling that accompanies a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ."