Susan Orme, a mathematics professor, opened her address with a Book of Mormon scripture that became special to her a few years ago.
“But behold the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell, I have beheld his glory that I am encircled about eternally in the arms of His love,” (2 Nephi 1:15).
Orme decided to investigate what the word “encircle” meant and what it meant in terms of the gospel.
She found that the word encircle means to circle around or surround. She explained that in the scriptures the word encircle is found 18 times in the Book of Mormon and one time in the Doctrine and Covenants.
Orme asked everyone in the room to imagine being encircled and what it might mean for each person.
In the scriptures, encircle does not always mean in the Savior’s love.
“At some point in time we all may feel or will feel that we are encircled about with chains, they could be chains of sin, chains of sorrow, these chains will feel heavy and feel like we cannot shake them off and remove them,” Orme said.
In Alma, we learn we can.
“If you feel encircled in chains of darkness, I invite you to seek our Savior and repent,” Orme said. “If needed, I invite you to meet with your bishop and work with him to shake off the chains of sin and sorrow.”
We can keep changing and growing because we have a gospel of hope, of healing and of progress.
“Through our Savior’s atonement, we can break the chains of evil surrounding us,” Orme said. “Through His atonement, we can each be redeemed from Satan’s grasp.”
Alma 26:15 talks about how people may be wrapped in chains of everlasting destruction, but the Savior has brought them into everlasting salvation.
“If you feel bound in chains of darkness I invite you to seek the Savior to release the chains of sins,” Orme said.
Through the Atonement we can break the chain. We can repent and not be circled in the chains of sorrow.
“In a world of sin it is very easy to be circled by darkness,” Orme said.
If an individual ever questions why they may not feel the Savior’s encircling arms of love, they need to look at two key areas of their lives for an answer.
1. Look around your home for movies and books. Do they invite the Spirit? If not, change them.
2. Look around your home. What pictures do you see? Keep pictures of your family, the Savior and the temple.
Orme invited students to go to the temple as much as possible. Even walking on sacred temple ground can create light and love from the Savior’s arms.
Lastly, Orme talked about the Christus statue and how it is said that the creator was struggling with how to portray arms of the Savior.
He started by shaping his arms to be held over his head. The man went to bed that night and checked on his statue when he woke up. To his surprise, the clay arms had moved slowly to an outstretched and inviting position. He kept it that way.
“The Savior’s arms are always outstretched and inviting,” Orme said. “You can break those chains by turning to the Savior … Our Savior is constantly circling us in love, safety, peace and hope.”