A return to the battlefields of his military service gave Elder Lance B. Wickman of the Seventy a backdrop to teach the importance of not postponing "the seeking and offering of forgiveness."

Speaking in the Sunday afternoon conference session, Elder Wickman explained that a few weeks earlier he had visited Vietnam on a Church assignment. While there, he toured the countryside where, more than 40 years earlier, he had been one involved in bitter warfare.

A lieutenant leading a rifle platoon, he recalled a day several men sent out on a reconnaissance mission returned wounded, including Sgt. Arthur Morris who had a slight flesh wound. The other wounded were evacuated by helicopter. But Sgt. Morris refused to leave his men, and said, "They can't kill a tough old bird like me."

Later that day, Elder Wickman said, Sgt. Morris "lay dead upon the ground, felled by hostile fire."

Then Elder Wickman said, "Death is a curtain through which each must pass, and — like Sgt. Arthur Morris — none of us knows when that passage will occur. Of all the challenges we face, perhaps the greatest is the misguided sense that mortality goes on forever, and its corollary — that we can postpone until tomorrow the seeking and offering of forgiveness which, as the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches, are among mortality's central purposes."

Though not in the sense stated by Sgt. Morris, immortality is a reality, Elder Wickman said.

"It remains only for you and me to both seek and tender that forgiveness — to both repent and to extend charity to others — which enables us to pass through the door the Savior holds open, thus to cross the threshold from this life into exaltation. Today is the day to forgive others their 'trespasses,' secure in the knowledge that the Lord will thus forgive ours. ... Perfection may elude us here, but we can be merciful. And in the end, repenting and forgiving are among God's chief requirements of us."