Appreciating Elder Maxwell

Mediawiki Commons
Mediawiki Commons

This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey.

Before I even finished reading Elder Maxwell’s talk from this session[ref]the Friday morning session of the October 1974 General conference[/ref] I had to fire off an email to my mum, dad, and wife. The subject line was just “I see why everyone loved Elder Maxwell” and the body was just, “This talk is awesome.”[ref]With a link to the talk.[/ref]

As it turns out, Why Not Now? is not Elder Maxwell’s first talk in General Conference. I found a list here, and his first GC talk was in 1970, which is before the first session covered by the General Conference Odyssey. He spoke again in April 1974, but I confess that talk did not leave much of an impression on me. The talk—Response to a Call—was just that: a reaction to his calling as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve.

But this talk, Why Not Now?, was something different. I think I highlighted more of the talk than I didn’t. I was bowled over by both his sincere love: “to such individuals [those who “do not participate fully in the Church”]… be assured there is a real craving for your companionship and a genuine need for your unique strengths.” And then I was knocked over again by the passion of his message. Writing that “if… you really do not wish to commit now” he gave a list of things such individuals should avoid if they want to maintain their position half-in, half-out of the Church, including:

Do not look too deeply into the eyes of the pleasure-seekers about you, for if you do, you will see a certain sadness in sensuality, and you will hear artificiality in the laughter of licentiousness.

Do not look too deeply, either, into the motives of those who deny God, for you may notice their doubts of doubt.

Do not risk thinking the unthinkable, lest you find yourself drawn with a deep and powerful pull toward the reality that God does exist, that he loves you, and that finally there is no escaping him or his love!

I’m not going to write anything else about this talk. I’m just going to urge anyone and everyone who is reading this post to make time today to go and read the full talk. It’s worth it.

And as for me? I’m really looking forward to reading many, many more talks from Elder Maxwell in the future.

Check out the other posts from the General Conference Odyssey this week and join our Facebook group to follow along!