Here is the text of Bruce's talk from the funeral:
I would like to speak on three words: Faith, diligence, and action. In doing so, let me explain a few core beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that Susan held dear to her heart.
In the book of Hebrews, the Apostle Paul refers to God as “the father of our spirits.”
As Christians, believe that our Heavenly Father truly is the father of our spirits, and we lived with Him before we were born into this life. Because He loves us and wants us to enjoy all the blessings of eternity, He created this earth and the opportunity for us to live by faith in Him, much like a parent allows their child to learn to make decisions on their own. As a parallel, if a parent makes every decision for a child, the child grows up lacking independence, opportunity and growth. If, however, a parent gives a child the ability to learn from their own decisions, the child grows in knowledge, independence and freedom. Similarly, we grow because our Father in Heaven created this plan that allows us to be here on the earth.
The poet William Wordsworth wrote:
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home …
When we come to this earth, we don’t remember our pre-mortal existence with God. In order that we have the opportunity to grow and learn to make decisions on our own, He asks us to live by faith, to trust Him that if we live by His teachings and according to the direction that His Spirit gives us, that in the eternities, He will bless us and we can live as families for eternity. Here are the words of a prophet from more than 500 years before Christ’s birth, speaking to this topic.
25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
26 And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon….
27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men….
As a part of our life here on earth, we will make mistakes, we will make choices contrary to God’s commandments. We know from biblical prophets that no unclean thing can enter back into God’s presence. In order that we might be clean, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to teach us how to live, and to atone for our sins so that justice and mercy might have equal sway in our eternal judgment. God’s promise to us is that if we follow Christ’s way and live in the way that He directs us through His Light, the Holy Spirit, His teachings, and those called under His authority, that we will be clean through Christ’s atonement. At the end of our mortal lives, we can return to live with God, our Heavenly Father and continue to learn from Him and grow.
From Faith, comes action. From an early age, Susan understood this concept. She understood that if we live by faith in God, that all would be eternally well and good. As she said in her last message posted on her blog – “I have learned that a lot of things in life just don't go the way we plan. This is by no fault of our own.” As we exercise our faith in God, His perfect eternal vision and perfect care for us will deliver us home to Him.
On the earth, when God impacts our lives, whether directly or through another person, our responsibility is to act or change, to not be the same person. We are here today in remembrance of Susan’s life. Having the privilege of knowing her for all of her 25 years, I believe that one thing she would want us to do is to make changes in our lives that reflect her legacy. Let me relate an experience that illustrates that. The day before she died, I was privileged to listen to the last telephone conversation she had. She wanted to speak with a dear friend. She was weak, unable to speak above a whisper, but as this friend started to end the call, she said, “Don’t hang up, I need to tell you one more thing. Never forget who you are. Always remember the things that we talked about.”
That is our challenge – Don’t hang up on Susan. The reason you are here is because you loved her and want to remember her. Her impact on your life needs to include this knowledge. Never forget that we are indeed God’s children, that His way is the best way, and that when He acts in our lives, our responsibility is to respond in faith, love and joy to His actions. If that means change our habits, we should change our habits. If that means to go to church, we should go to church. If that means to be kinder, gentler, more loving in our family, we should do that. If that means that we stop telling God what He should do, and instead be faithful in accepting what He is teaching us, we should do that.
In time, the intensity that we feel at Susan’s passing may fade. It is natural, our lives are busy, we move on. The intensity will return when a picture jogs our memory, or when a thought comes to our mind. Perhaps tears will come at that moment. However, what should not fade from our lives is the change to our very souls that we feel at this moment. What should not change is the impact of the Holy Spirit that you feel right now, this very moment. The action that you should take is to cement the changes to your soul that God is prompting you to do right now. Because you don’t understand everything, you may hesitate. I urge you to take the action of committing to yourself to move forward in faith and diligence.
Because He has perfect, eternal vision, God will answer all of our faithful prayers, not always in the way that we wanted, but in the way that will best help us to achieve our eternal potential. All of us prayed for Susan’s health and recovery from cancer. Instead of the removal of her cancer, God answered our prayers for her with by increasing her understanding, with the giving her the ability to bear the pain, with greater strength for her to carry on and endure in faith to the end. He healed her eternal soul. As the apostle Paul said,
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure …, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, …
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
I love this verse in the book of Psalms: “Be still, and know that I am God….”
Christ said, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst”… and He also said through the prophet Isaiah,
18 ¶ And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.
19 … weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.
20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, … thine eyes shall see thy teachers:
21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
Susan and all of us hoped and prayed for her freedom from cancer. Through the grace of God, Susan found freedom and teaching above the everyday, above the mundane, leading to eternity. Our task is to do likewise, with whatever opportunity God places in our path, to follow the promptings that He sends to us, to learn for ourselves, and experience that joy described so often by those of faith in Christ.
Listen to the words of faith, diligence and action from Jeffrey R. Holland
“…the tests of life are tailored for our own best interests, and all will face the burdens best suited to their own mortal experience. In the end we will realize that God is merciful as well as just and that all the rules are fair. We can be reassured that our challenges will be the ones we needed, and conquering them will bring blessings we could have received in no other way.
If we constantly focus only on the stones in our mortal path, we will almost surely miss the beautiful flower or cool stream provided by the loving Father who outlined our journey. Each day can bring more joy than sorrow when our mortal and spiritual eyes are open to God’s goodness. Joy in the gospel is not something that begins only in the next life. It is our privilege now, this very day. We must never allow our burdens to obscure our blessings. There will always be more blessings than burdens—even if some days it doesn’t seem so. Jesus said, ‘I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ Enjoy those blessings right now. They are yours and always will be.”
I testify that God, our Heavenly Father, lives. I know that He sent His Son to teach us God’s way, to atone for our sins, and to enable our own resurrection, just as He was resurrected. Of the truth of these things, I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.