The most popular New Year’s Resolution in the United States last year was to eat healthy and exercise regularly. “Learn something new,” “get organized” and “read more” rounded out the list.
As worthwhile as those goals might be, none of them are listed below as resolutions for 2014. We’ve dipped into recent General Conference addresses to find specific goals the prophets have asked us to set. What better time to take their challenge than now?
1. Find someone for the missionaries to teach
The LDS Church has more than 80,000 missionaries currently serving around the world—a number that far exceeds the number of missionaries serving at any other time in Church history. But even with such an impressive full-time missionary force, prophets have asked members to do more to be involved.
“Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto Him,” President Monson said. “He has prepared the means for us to share the gospel in a multitude of ways, and He will assist us in our labors if we will act in faith to fulfill His work.”
Elder M. Russell Ballard echoed President Monson’s sentiment later in the October 2013 General Conference, challenging members to find someone for the missionaries to teach.
“When members view the work of salvation as their responsibility alone, it can be intimidating,” Elder Ballard said. “When they view it as an invitation to follow the Lord in bringing souls unto Him to be taught by the full-time elders and sisters, it is inspiring, invigorating and uplifting. We are not asking everyone to do everything. We are simply asking all members to pray, knowing that if every member, young and old, will reach out to just ‘one’ … millions will feel the love of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
2. Increase family history efforts
Gone are the days when family history research involved hours of backbreaking, mind-numbing labor over a microfiche reader. FamilySearch.org has made major strides in making genealogical research simple. Elder David A. Bednar encourages members—especially young members—to take advantage of these resources and increase family history efforts.
“I encourage you to study, to search out your ancestors, and to prepare yourselves to perform proxy baptisms in the house of the Lord for your kindred dead,” Elder Bednar said. “And I urge you to help other people identify their family histories.”
3. Let go of a grudge
While some goals are easily measurable, this goal is more difficult to grasp. But President Henry B. Eyring said the effort involved in offering—or asking for—forgiveness is always worth the sacrifice.
“Many of you, as I have, have felt fear in approaching someone you have offended or who has hurt you,” President Eyring said. “And yet I have seen the Lord melt hearts time after time, including my own. And so I challenge you to go for the Lord to someone, despite any fear you may have, to extend love and forgiveness. I promise you that as you do, you will feel the love of the Savior for that person and His love for you, and it will not seem to come from a great distance.”
4. Become an expert
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf offers an alternative to the vague “improve scripture study” goal many Latter-day Saints set. He suggests that Church members become scriptural experts on certain topics through their daily study. He specifically asked priesthood holders to become experts on the priesthood, but any gospel topic is worth studying thoroughly.
“I invite you to … become experts in the doctrines of the gospel,” President Uchtdorf said. “We live in a time when the scriptures and the words of modern-day prophets are more easily accessible than at any time in the history of the world. However, … it is our responsibility to reach out and grasp their teachings.”
5. Make more time for the temple
When the Provo City Center Temple is completed, Provo will become the second city in the world to have two LDS temples within its borders. Utah County currently has four temples completed or under construction, with more just a short drive away. With so much access to the temple, now is a great time to increase your commitment to temple worship.
“I encourage you to establish your own goal of how frequently you will avail yourself of the ordinances offered in our operating temples,” said Elder Richard G. Scott. “What is there that is more important than attending and participating in the ordinances of the temple? What activity could have a greater impact and provide more joy and profound happiness for a couple than worshipping together in the temple?”