According to President David O McKay, City Creek Center and shopping have nothing to do with making bad men good, and good men better.
The Journey of Life
The framework for my message today is a statement by President David O. McKay. He summarized the overarching purpose of the gospel of the Savior in these terms: “The purpose of the gospel is . . . to make bad men good and good men better, and to change human nature” (from the film Every Member a Missionary, as acknowledged by Franklin D. Richards, CR, October 1965, 136–37; see also Brigham Young, JD 8:130 [22 July 1860]).
Thus the journey of a lifetime is to progress from bad to good to better and to experience the mighty change of heart—and to have our fallen natures changed.
May I suggest that the Book of Mormon is our handbook of instructions as we travel the pathway from bad to good to better and to have our hearts changed. If you have your scriptures with you this morning, please turn with me to Mosiah 3:19. In this verse King Benjamin teaches about the journey of mortality and about the role of the Atonement in successfully navigating that journey: “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord” (emphasis added).
I want to stop at this point and draw our attention to two specific phrases. First, consider “and putteth off the natural man.” Let me suggest to you that President McKay was fundamentally talking about putting off the natural man when he said, “The purpose of the gospel is . . . to make bad men good.” Now I do not believe the word bad in this statement by President McKay connotes only wicked, awful, horrible, or inherently evil. Rather, I think he was suggesting that the journey from bad to good is the process of putting off the natural man or the natural woman in each of us. In mortality we all are tempted by the flesh. The very elements out of which our bodies were created are by nature fallen and ever subject to the pull of sin, corruption, and death. And we can increase our capacity to overcome the desires of the flesh and temptations, as described in this verse, “through the atonement of Christ.” When we make mistakes—as we transgress and sin—we are able to overcome such weakness through the redeeming and cleansing power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. As we frequently sing in preparation to partake of the emblems of the sacrament, “His precious blood he freely spilt; His life he freely gave, A sinless sacrifice for guilt, A dying world to save” (“How Great the Wisdom and the Love,” Hymns, 1985, no. 195).