Stepping aside from the controversies with our critics in California for a moment (may there be reduced anger and increased understanding on both sides), I'd like to address the "difficult" nature of living the Gospel. The world and some Christians looks at the sacrifices required by the Gospel and sees a boatload of difficulty. Fidelity, tithing and other financial sacrifices, kindness toward enemies, hours of service, going to Church instead of partying, and other expectations counter to the desires of the "natural man" may seem difficult and unreasonable to some. In the Mormon flavor of Christianity, some of the additional "opportunities" like giving up alcohol and tobacco and holding Church callings can make things seem even harder.

On top of that, the growing gap between Christian faith - particularly the LDS Christian faith -- and the rest of the world can give us a sense of isolation and risk, especially when ancestral memories of angry mobs are triggered by scenes of hostility today.

When one considers the call of Jesus Christ to follow Him completely - as in Matthew 5:48 where He asks Christians to "be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect," well, it seems to be an impossibly difficult and overwhelming standard.

But is living the Gospel really difficult? There are painful moments, yes, as there are in every human life, including the ultimate loss of death. Difficult - compared to what? Compared to not knowing our purpose in life and who we are, to know knowing and feeling the love of God, to not having the companionship of the Holy Spirit, to not knowing that we and our loved ones will be resurrected and reunited? The difficulties of this journey seem well worth the great joy and blessings we receive in the Gospel. These are great blessings, but still, is living the Gospel difficult?

Difficult for whom? That is the real question. Here is a great answer I found this morning from the last General Conference in the talk of Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge called "The Way."
"My Yoke Is Easy, and My Burden Is Light"
One of the most popular and attractive philosophies of men is to live life your own way, do your own thing, be yourself, don't let others tell you what to do. But the Lord said, "I am the way" (John 14:6). He said, "Follow me" (Mark 8:34). He said, "What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am" (3 Nephi 27:27).

Don't think you can't. We might think we can't really follow Him because the standard of His life is so astonishingly high as to seem unreachable. We might think it is too hard, too high, too much, beyond our capacity, at least for now. Don't ever believe that. While the standard of the Lord is the highest, don't ever think it is only reachable by a select few who are most able.

In this singular instance life's experience misleads us. In life we learn that the highest achievements in any human endeavor are always the most difficult and, therefore, achievable only by a select few who are most able. The higher the standard, the fewer can reach it.

But that is not the case here because, unlike every other experience in this life, this is not a human endeavor. It is, rather, the work of God. It is God's work and it is His "glory ... to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39). There is nothing else like it. Not anywhere. Not ever.

No institution, plan, program, or system ever conceived by men has access to the redeeming and transforming power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Therefore, while the Lord's invitation to follow Him is the highest of all, it is also achievable by everyone, not because we are able, but because He is, and because He can make us able too. "We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind [everyone, living and dead] may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel" (Articles of Faith 1:3).

The Lord's way is not hard. Life is hard, not the gospel. "There is an opposition in all things" (2 Nephi 2:11), everywhere, for everyone. Life is hard for all of us, but life is also simple. We have only two choices. We can either follow the Lord and be endowed with His power and have peace, light, strength, knowledge, confidence, love, and joy, or we can go some other way, any other way, whatever other way, and go it alone -- without His support, without His power, without guidance, in darkness, turmoil, doubt, grief, and despair. And I ask, which way is easier?

He said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; ... and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

"For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).

Life is hard, but life is simple. Get on the path and never, ever give up. You never give up. You just keep on going. You don't quit, and you will make it.

There is only one way to happiness and fulfillment. Jesus Christ is the Way. Every other way, any other way, whatever other way is foolishness.

I bear record of Him, even Jesus Christ, that He is the Son of the living God, He is the Bread of Life, He is the Truth, He is the Resurrection and the Life, He is the Savior and the Light of the World. He is the Way, the only Way.

May we have the good sense to follow Him. In His holy name, even Jesus Christ, amen.

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