Have you ever had to go through something hard? Some experience where there was no way around it, only through? Maybe something like a traffic jam. How well would you say that you endured to the end?
When we talk about enduring to the end, what does that refer to? What are we talking about?
Marvin J. Ashton described it this way:
“Greatness is best measured by how well an individual responds to the happenings in life that appear to be totally unfair, unreasonable, and undeserved. Sometimes we are inclined to put up with a situation rather than endure. To endure is to bear up under, to stand firm against, to suffer without yielding, to continue to be, or to exhibit the state or power of lasting.”“If Thou Endure It Well,” in General Conference Report, October 1984
It’s not really just gritting your teeth and hanging in there until the ordeal is over. It is staying strong through it, standing up against it, not letting it affect you.
Hartman Rector, Jr. also had some enlightening thoughts on the meaning of this concept. He said:
“What does that mean? I believe it means basically three things.
One: We must continue to repent for the rest of our lives because we will still make mistakes, and we must go home clean or we can’t dwell with the Father and the Son (see D&C 84:74).
Two: We must continue to forgive others. If we do not forgive others, we cannot obtain forgiveness ourselves (see D&C 64:9–10). And three: Yes, we must be nice. If we’re not nice, I don’t think we’re going to make it. In other words, we must have charity, which is really love plus sacrifice. We must serve our fellowmen, women, and children, and if we do all else but we do not serve the poor, the needy, the downtrodden, the oppressed, the sick and afflicted, both temporally and spiritually, according to their wants, we cannot retain a remission of our sins from day to day.”“Endure to the End in Charity,” in General Conference Report, October 1994
Where does enduring to the end fit into the Gospel? Dennis L. Largey explains:
“The doctrine of endurance to the end is taught twenty-two times in the Book of Mormon in teachings by Christ, an angel, and seven prophets. The doctrine spans the entire Book of Mormon time period and probably was taught in the plates of brass as well. The requirement of endurance to the end appears consistently in context with the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. One could easily make the case that the Book of Mormon teaches that there are five first principles and ordinances of the gospel, the fifth being enduring to the end.”Dennis L. Largey, “Enduring to the End,” in Doctrines of the Book of Mormon: The 1991 Sperry Symposium, pp. 57-59
For a scriptural treatise on this topic, one could refer to the entire chapter of 2 Nephi 31. Such is beyond the scope of this article. However, we can refer to verses 15, 16, and 20, which say:
15 And I heard a voice from the Father, saying: Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.
16 And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.
20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
Again, this is a very small summary of how enduring to the end fits into the Gospel. The whole of 2 Nephi 31 should be studied to understand it on a deeper level.
Just given what we have discussed here, however, one can see its importance. So the next time you’re having a hard time, whether in a trial or challenge, do your best to endure it well. Not only that, but it is also something we will need to do diligently and continuously throughout the rest of our lives. We would do well to endure to the end in righteousness.