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Enduring to the End

Retirement is a peculiar condition, especially in anticipation. For some, it’s a fearful thing, the end of useful existence, a time when mental and physical capacities begin to wane significantly which, with reduced income imposes limitations on the scope of our activity. For others it’s a blessed state that can’t come soon enough, freedom from the imposed schedules of work, an opportunity to indulge in hobbies and interests — a kind of perpetual holiday and a time for reaching out to experiences we never had time for. I suppose for most of us the reality is somewhere between the two.

But for disciples of Jesus Christ I think there is a difference. In addition to work and home we have the Church. What about spiritual retirement? Is there such a thing?

In October 1992 Robert L. Backman became an emeritus General Authority (all General Authority Seventies are retired at age 70). In his last talk in General Conference he said:

“I don’t want to be like the retiree of whom it was said, “He died at seventy but waited to be buried until he was eighty-five.” What to do?”

He then went on to say:

“I want to follow the example of my good neighbor, Perris Jensen, who graduated from Brigham Young University at eighty-one, and Amelia McConkie, widow of Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who, after her husband’s death, took up painting. I have already started piano lessons, and I mean to master the computer if I live long enough. . . . There is no retirement from the service of the Lord. We believe in eternal progression. We should continually grow spiritually throughout our lives. The gospel challenges us to endure to the end. “The word endure has an interesting connotation. We seem to equate it with suffering. I was interested to discover that endure comes from the Latin word indurare, which means “to harden, to steel, make lasting.”


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