The magazine project was done as a way for me to show my skills in writing and design. I will create a hypothetical two page spread for an LDS magazine article. For my magazine spread story, I chose to write to an audience of adults (Ensign) to relate the importance of striving towards perfection and enduring to the end. I wrote about an experience where I was a part of a high school video production team that worked hard towards a goal, only to stumble at the finish line. It relates to my audience because they have made covenants that will affect their lives eternally based upon how they choose to keep those covenants.
Story: An Eternal Second Place
When I was a junior in high school, I participated in the Business Professionals of America club, otherwise known as BPA. I contended in the category of Video Production, one of the more competitive categories in the program. The group I had was wonderful, we knew the “how’s,” “what’s,” and “why’s” of video production and our hopes were high about winning our regional competition. We had storyboarded, casted, produced our music, and filmed so that all that was left to do was edit it all together. Unfortunately, though we knew what we were doing, we were not particularly motivated. It came down to three days before the regional competition that we finally, and sloppily, compiled all of the different aspects into one semi-coherent film. The day of the competition came, and we presented our film to the judges. We were met with some fairly harsh criticisms, but our hopes of winning could not be diminished. We went through the rest of the day talking about how well we did, congratulating one another on how well we talked to the judges, and how beautiful some of our camera work looked. The time for the awards ceremony came, and our group conversed at the table about who would go up to accept the award. When our category came up, our group tensed ready to applaud our efforts, but alas another school’s name was called as first place. Though we were selected as the second place winners, all of our hopes disappeared. Only the first place team in each category would be eligible to compete at the state level. We were crushed. We went home with our heads hanging low cursing the other team, not realizing our own faults in failing to complete our project with the same enthusiasm with which we started. Coming in second place, though it is a worthy achievement, does not satisfy like coming in first. This goes hand in hand with the principle of Enduring to the End.
We have many examples both in the scriptures as well as words of ancient and modern prophets, about enduring to the end. Elder Robert D Hales in his conference address “Behold, We Count Them Happy Which Endure” recounted the story of Joseph Smith and how he endured the many trials he encountered while he was falsely imprisoned in Liberty Jail. “Joseph knew that if he were to stop going forward with this great work, his earthly trials would probably ease. But he could not stop, because he knew who he was, he knew for what purpose he was placed on the earth, and he had the desire to do God’s will.” As we can see through the Prophet Joseph Smith’s example, we must continue on our way, though it may not be the easiest path, never faltering.
In Japan there is a business and marketing strategy called Kaizen, which means continuous progression or betterment. In order for a business to be successful in the long term, they must have plans in place to continually better their management skills and products or else the business cannot thrive. Imagine a company that produced a website at the dawn of the Internet. Though when it was created it may have been revered as a great technological advance, in today’s market, without constant and careful improvement, it would not manage to adequately hold up to its expectations. So it is with our eternal salvation. We simply cannot stop in our current spiritual state and expect to gain salvation. Standing still results in backward motion, as if our eternal progression takes place on a downward escalator. We must keep moving forward in order to truly progress. How sad it would be to arrive at the judgment bar of God only to discover that we had achieved an infinite second place and ended up in a kingdom other than that Celestial Kingdom in which our Father dwells. May we continually strive to become closer to obtaining the Kingdom of our Heavenly Father is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
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