Mark H. Willes, former Honolulu Hawaii Mission President, and his wife Laura Willes, joined students and faculty on Tuesday, March 22 devotional, to give advice on what it means to be a ‘Zion Community’.
Before he began his address, he gave the audience a disclaimer: “If you learn something today, it is because of you. If you don’t learn something today, it’s because of you. Isn’t that interesting?”
He focused on the scripture Moses 7:18, which reads: “And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.”
Willes said to him Laie is one of the most Zion like communities. He shared how he believes Laie can become an even stronger Zion community.
Then he did something different, he brought students, who were recommended by their bishops and religion teachers, up to the pulpit and asked them to read scriptures and answer questions about how those scriptures related to Moses 7:18. Prior to the devotional the students pondered the scriptures Willes had chosen.
The scriptures that Willes shared showed it is our responsibility, together, to establish Zion despite our differences. He then talked about Jesus Christ as our advocate. He stated, “It makes me feel comfortable. It makes me feel safe to know that his desire is not to keep me out, but pull me in. That he will argue for me. He will defend me. He will give reasons for why I ought to be a part of his Zion community.”
Then he encouraged the listeners of his message to become advocates for one another. “Can you imagine how wonderful it is when others feel that we are their advocate? We never tear them down. We never say negative things. We never do negative things. We focus on those things that are positive. We focus on those things that will build them up. We defend them.”
He finished by once again reading Moses 7:18 and concluded with these words: “I hope and pray that you are a part of that community, and feel it. If the spirit has whispered something to you, that you can do, to be a stronger part of it. I hope you can find yourself to act. I hope you will listen to the promptings of the spirit and then go and do what the spirit has taught you.”