When all else fails, just ask yourself, “What else matters?”. The meaning behind this simple question is so life changing and so profound, yet it was taught to me by a little old lady in Australia. As a missionary in Australia many years ago, I met a wonderful Catholic woman named Pauline Murray. Pauline was 83 years old when I met her and she knew more about the Bible then anyone I have ever met. She was very active in her church and even led a weekly Bible study. She was first interested in visiting with the Mormon Missionaries just to find out if we shared any common beliefs. Pauline was fun to talk with! She was always a couple of steps ahead of us. As we taught her that Heavenly Father has revealed his truths to prophets of the past, she was quick to ask why Heavenly Father didn’t have prophets today. When we first taught that we should care for each other, she was quick to ask why churches did not ask their members to pay tithing. We had the answers to her questions!
Over the next few weeks, Pauline read from the Book of Mormon and felt that the message we were sharing was true. But then one day, Pauline told us that she could not continue meeting with us. She said that at 83 years old, she just didn’t want to make the commitment to part with the traditions and beliefs she had held so dear for 83 years. Before leaving her home, Pauline asked if she could pray. Her intention was to leave a blessing on her missionary friends. However, as she started to pray, she prayed for something else. She asked her Heavenly Father, “Is Joseph Smith a prophet and is the Book of Mormon true?” She knelt in silence for what seemed like forever! Finally, Pauline looked up and with tears in her eyes she said, “So, the Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. Knowing this, what else matters?” Pauline was baptized a short time later.
I have often thought of Pauline during these last several years of my life. I have found her advice to be helpful in two aspects:
First. I don’t understand all there is to understand about this gospel. But two things I do know without question is that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ while praying in a grove near his home, and that by the power of God he translated the Book of Mormon. Because I know these two things to be true, what else matters? Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints can be tough sometimes. Where much is given, much is expected. Much has indeed been given to members of His church and as a result sometimes much is expected. But we are members of His church! So really, what else matters? The blessings that are given to each one of us as members of His church greatly outweigh what we give in return.
Second. Sometimes life can be tough. I cannot begin to tell you how many times my parents told me, “Life’s not fair”. They were right. Everyone has their own challenges. Sometimes those challenges are bigger than others. Sometimes our challenges are short lived, sometimes they can last a long time. But there is a God in Heaven. He has a plan for us. That plan is possible because Jesus Christ is our Savior. He has given us prophets, temples, priesthood, personal revelation, answers to prayers, and so much more. We are members of His church, we are His sons and daughters, so what else matters? President Hinckley has said, “It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry. If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God, and more forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us if we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, he will hear our prayers.”