GCBC Week 11: “What Shall a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul?” by Elder Robert C. Gay


This week’s talk by Elder Robert C. Gay was from the Saturday p.m. session of conference. He spoke about the value of integrity and not selling ourselves short by being unwilling to let go of sin. Remember the story where he fibbed about his age to save a nickel?

What Shall a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul?

By Elder Robert C. Gay


The Lord loves our righteousness but asks of us continued repentance and submission. . . .

This is the exchange the Savior is asking of us: we are to give up all our sins, big or small, for the Father’s reward of eternal life. We are to forget self-justifying stories, excuses, rationalizations, defense mechanisms, procrastinations, appearances, personal pride, judgmental thoughts, and doing things our way.

What stood out to you from this talk? What do you think the speaker is asking us to do? Please share in the comments below some of your insights.

(A reminder to those of you who are new to General Conference Book Club: You’re welcome to return to this post any time this week and leave your comment and thoughts in the comment section below. You may also want to see what others are saying about the talk and engage in a conversation for mutual understanding and encouragement. A new talk will be posted each Sunday and will be studied and discussed throughout the week.)


4 thoughts on “GCBC Week 11: “What Shall a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul?” by Elder Robert C. Gay

  1. This reminded me of what we talked about in RS yesterday…George Albert Smith’s reproof of his daughter when the streetcar conductor skipped taking her fare and she was 5 cents richer after the ride.

    Some of the ladies had grown up in rural Arkansas with fathers who used a belt and mother’s who used a whipping stick. The conversation was diverted for a while. But I was reminded of some teachings by Brother (Dr.) Wally Goddard. He said that in reprimands that raise the child’s anxiety (screaming, whipping, etc) the messenger is noticed, the message isn’t received. And the eventual outcome of continuous use of this form of discipline is either rebellion or passivity.

    When the parent doesn’t respond, or ignores, there is no corrective message given.

    When the parent pays attention and respond with information and emotion, the child connects with message of reproof, it is internalized and remembered in long-term memory. One of the ladies unknowingly gave an example of this. She said that she was sent for a couple of years to live with grandparents. Instead of whipping her whenever she messed-up. They would ask her why she did whatever it was. (Using a swear word, irresponsibility, etc.) Then they would explain why that behavior was unacceptable and tell her not to do it again. Those were the lessons she remembers.

    It seems George Albert Smith’s daughter learned a similar lesson with her streetcar nickel, if she could recall that years later. Those are the lessons we want our children to learn, and how we want those lessons learned.

  2. I just reread this talk again this week. Something that stood out to me was the contrast between the commandment-keeping young man who could not give up or let go of what the Lord asked of him to give up versus King Lamoni’s father who KNEW that he could do ANYTHING asked of him so that he could have the peace that comes from doing what is right. When you are truly converted, you will be willing to make whatever changes necessary to feel the spirit of the Lord in your life.

    I thought of the young man. He was a good man who tried to do what is right. I asked myself, “What things in our day might have compared to what he was asked to give up?” Could it be the socially acceptable (among the Latter Day Saints) music, movies and TV shows that weren’t always “virtuous, lovely, of good report or praiseworthy?” Could it be following ALL the counsel of the living prophet and not ONLY those that fit into our lifestyles? Could it be the things in this life that kept us so busy we did not have time to serve our fellow men? I realize I chose those things because they are areas I can see improvement for my life.

    Then I thought of King Lamoni’s father and wondered at his sincere desire to give up everything and anything he had to in order to hold onto this peace he had finally found. Why? I wondered if it was because until that moment, all he had ever known was darkness and then the light came on, and it felt so right. His former lifestyle could not hold a candle, so to speak, to this change that came to his heart.

    The saying at the very end of the talk really struck a cord with me today. “My testimony is my most prized possession.” And I realized that yes, yes it is. I have had to fight hard to keep it, it did not come easily, but it can be lost very easily. I see so many around me being deceived by the imitation light the world has to offer and their testimonies are very dim. When I find myself complacent and falling to the ways of the world, I pray I will always have the courage of King Lamoni and be willing to GIVE UP whatever or DO whatever is asked to keep that testimony burning brightly.

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