Unspotted from the World

Elder Earl M. Monson

 

Brigham Young University–Idaho

July 8, 2003

 

 

President and Sister Bednar, faculty, brothers and sisters, my family and I are honored to be with you.  We have enjoyed your kind hospitality.  This is truly a special privilege to be on this beautiful campus today. 

 

I think we all live in a remarkable time.  I know I am most grateful for my life.  I have had special parents and a remarkable companion for almost 50 years.  One by one our choice posterity is developing and we have seen dramatic events occur in our world. 

 

Mortal life is a remarkable time for us.  It is truly a time of learning and experiencing.  Some of the lessons are hard to learn.  It shouldn=t take any of us very long to realize there are good and bad forces on this earth.  In fact, they battle in different ways for your soul and for mine. 

 

There will be many wonderful things happen during the time you will spend on this earth.  They will probably be mingled with some difficult times you can=t even now imagine.  Then, no matter what comes, you will recognize this to be a valuable part of your eternal quest. 

 

This is your time of preparing for that which you have been foreordained to do while in mortality.  I hope you are building a solid foundation for your work.  In one short verse of Luke we read of the Saviors time of preparation:

 

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. (1)

 

I have come to appreciate what He accomplished in maturing so completely in such a short time in each of the four different ways mentioned.  It is wonderful to have such an example to reach toward. 

 

Perhaps the most challenging and rewarding part of maturing is increasing in favor with God.  How wonderful it would be to have the maturity shown by the Savior as he stood before pilot and as he knelt in the garden of Gethsemane.  He would do what his Father in Heaven had asked, no matter what the consequences. 

 

AYYO my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.(2)

 

After prayerful consideration, it is one part of this maturing process I wish to speak of today.  I pray my observations may be helpful for those who truly want to live as the Savior has shown us. 

 

I have had the privilege of traveling to many parts of our world and being exposed to many different cultures.  From that I have concluded there is a major challenge to spiritual maturing that is often overlooked or badly underestimated.  It is the source of subtle temptations that take most people far away from the Lord=s ways and they don=t even recognize what is happening. 

 

It is the powerful role of traditions and culture in our lives.  I speak of the ways that develop in every home and every community and which create the culture in which we live every day.  It=s the way of life that becomes comfortable to each of us and which seems normal to ourselves as well as to those around us no matter where we may live.

 

In every part of this world, traditions have developed which deeply affect how people talk, what they do, even the way they think.  We grow up with them and see them as the way everyone lives so it should be good for us.

 

I remember when I was courting my wife before we were married; I met her grandmother many times.  Years earlier, she left Sweden along with her husband and their eight year old daughter, who later became my mother-in-law.  They left because of the persecution they were receiving.  It came from being devoted members of this church in a nation where it was customary for everyone to belong to another church.

 

Even though she had been in America for many years, I could hardly understand what she said because of her strong Swedish accent.  Like all immigrants to any country, she had struggled against changing cultures.  She wanted to keep those ways that seemed familiar including her language.

 

We all have the choice of what culture we will adopt in our daily living.  The one that is comfortable to follow and which brings popularity and acceptance may not really be the best one for us.  My wife=s grandmother was ridiculed both in Sweden and in this country for being different from the accepted norms around her.  Knowing her feelings about the gospel and seeing the vast amount of family history work she did, I don=t think there was any ridicule awaiting her when she passed to the other side.  I assume she found a culture in which she finally felt at home.

 

Sometimes we think it would be easy to move from the environment in which we live on this earth to living with our Father in Heaven.  As we consider that no unclean thing can be in his presence, we realize what a dramatic difference it will be from life on this earth.  Some may think it is okay to live as the world around us lives because we are good people and we do want to be accepted by others and have all the things they have.  We think that someday we will live on a higher level of spirituality.  But then we read:

 

YI beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed. (3)

 

It is interesting how the attitudes and habits formed while we are young become our established ways as we grow older.  And they are not easily changed.

 

Some traditions can be a great blessing to us and our families.  Hopefully, each of you can reflect on the good traditions that have been an important part of your life. 

 

Perhaps it was family prayer, or scripture reading times, or special ways of honoring a family member.  It may have been the way children were put to bed or special trips as a familyBthe list of possibilities goes on and on. 

 

It is important for families to develop such traditions for they will bless their children in many ways. 

 

Good traditions are mentioned often in the holy scriptures.  Old Testament life was founded on many traditions purposely given by the Lord. 

 

In the musical Fiddler on the Roof, Tevya sings of traditions and the powerful influence they are in our lives. 

 

As we reflect on the pleasures associated with good traditions, we might also note a serious warning given to us by the Lord.  This reminds us that Satan also uses traditions for his purposes. 

 

The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.  Light and truth forsake the evil one.  Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God.  And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers. (4)

 

We can easily see how we lose light and truth through disobedience of God=s laws it is usually much harder to see how traditions deter our spiritual maturing when they are a significant part of our way of life.

 

For those of us who are older, it is easy to see the changes that have occurred in recent years in the culture of America.  There have been some wonderful changes, but Satan has certainly influenced many aspects of our daily life.

 

I remember my mother saying she was so happy she raised her children when she did because the culture that existed then was much more wholesome than what we faced when raising our children.  Now we say to our children how much we admire their efforts to raise good offspring when there are so many more evil temptations and wrong concepts to cope with in the world than we had to face. 

 

I have found it is very easy to go into another culture and see traditions that are not spiritually uplifting.  In fact there are always some that obviously contradict important gospel principles.  They quietly teach wrong concepts so people accept them without question because that is the way they live.  But an outsider can come in and say, AWhy do they live this way?@

 

In some nations, a person=s worth is determined by whether or not they are born into royalty, a certain religion, or with a particular color of skin.  It is decided at birth what their life is worth and what opportunities will be theirs.  In that culture, the Lord never makes such distinctions.  His words are:

 

Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;

 

For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. (5)

 

I have seen governments of the world which take away one=s desire for self-reliance.  The citizens pay high taxes, and then the government does everything for them.  Most become very complacent with their life. 

 

A basic concept of eternal growth is that we do for ourselves all we can rather that have others do more for us than is needed.  At one time the Lord said:

 

Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

 

For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselvesY. (6)

 

I have seen the cultures where leadership means absolute control and complete subjugating of its citizens.  That is not the kind of leadership the Lord spoke of when he said:

 

And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 

 

For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (7)

 

Abuse of all types is satanic whether it be physical, emotional, or sexual. 

 

There is no place in the Lord=s culture for any who would exercise unrighteous dominion over others, but that is a very common practice to some extent in nearly every culture on the earth.  It exists in families, businesses, and most organizations throughout the world. 

 

There are places in the world where young children grow up with addictive foods or drinks and then find it difficult to fully accept the gospel because of those addictions.  We have a wonderful Word of Wisdom to help us avoid such trials if we use it properly. 

 

Many cultures place either the man or the woman in a position to rule over the other sex.  The Lord said:

 

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.(8)

 

We are commanded to be unified as one in our marriage even while keeping our own personalities and attributes.

 

We could continue on in describing the many aspects of cultures that have developed throughout the world.  One thing would become very evident and that is that in every single part of this world the influence of the adversary is very apparent.  There are accepted ways of life contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  This has been true throughout history. 

 

The scriptures tell of the terrible effect on the Lamanites from incorrect traditions that caused them to become disobedient, ignorant and angry. 

 

They were a wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, believing in the tradition of their fathers.(9)

 

In the New Testament the Savior reproved the Pharisees for their false traditions and idle ceremonies which kept them from accepting him and his teachings.

 

He reminded the people ARender therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar=s; and unto God the things that are God=s.@(10)

 

He taught us to be in the world but not of the world. 

 

Even Paul the Apostle said AHow that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: and profited in the Jews= religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.@(11)

 

He was practicing what he learned from traditions he had been taught as he persecuted the Christians with vengeance.

 

Prophets, past and current, have cautioned us to look carefully at the world around us.  They have counciled us to decide what we can accept and what we must change in our own way of living if we are to be in favor with God and develop our spiritual maturity. 

 

Joshua said it so well thousands of years ago-- AY.Choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the Gods which your fathers servedYor the Gods of the AmoritesY,but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.@(12)

 

The Savior said, ABut seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousnessY@(13)

 

He knew there would always be choices for us to make as to how we would live whenever and wherever we may abide. 

 

Just a few of the many other scriptures of encouragement to separate from the world around us:

 

Come out from among them, and be ye separate...(14)

 

Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.(15)

 

The Lord said to Emma Smith, AAnd verily I say unto thee that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better.@(16)

 

At one time Joseph Smith said of others, AThe only principle upon which they judge me is by comparing my acts with the foolish traditions of their fathers and the nonsensical teachings of hireling priests.@ 

 

A wonderful quote on this topic comes from a marvelous talk President Hinckley gave at a recent general priesthood meeting when he said:

 

Brethren, be strong.  Rise above the evils of the world.  We need not be prudish.  We need not adopt a holier-than-thou attitude.  We need only let our personal integrity, our sense of right and wrong, and simple honesty govern our actions.  Let us live the gospel in our homesYsimply do what is right and let the consequences follow...someday you will grow old and look back upon your life.  You will be able to say >I lived with integrity.  I cheated no one, not even myself.=(17)

 

Even with all the encouragement given by great leaders, we note that counsel has been ignored by almost everyone who has been on the earth.  Instead, they have found comfort in following the traditions of their fathers and living as those around them live. 

 

The Lord knew this would be a problem for many when He said:

 

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.(18)

 

In our time on the earth, the gulf is widening between the world and the Lord=s kingdom.  The culture about us is changing rapidly while the ways and words of the Lord remain as they have always been.  It is becoming impossible to straddle that gulf.  But it seems only a few are able to cling to the iron rod consistently.

 

It is interesting to compare commandments given from the beginning of life with the world around us today.  The Lord=s commandments have not been rescinded for He is the same today as yesterday and forever.

 

Can we possibly believe we, today, are so differentBthat we have become wiser than God or that our cultures spawn spiritual maturity better than those of the past?  Do we think that the challenge not to live as the world around us is any easier now than it has been for others?

 

Those who are wise are thinking seriously about how they are going to cope with the pressures that will envelop them as they continue through life. 

 

You won=t always be able to control every situation that will confront you, but you will always be able to decide how you will react to it.  You will always be able to make choices.  Agency is one of the most wonderful gifts given to us. 

 

What we often forget is that the results of many decisions are based on laws irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world.  You cannot hope for nor rationalize good results from bad choices. 

 

As Lehi taught his son, AWherefore men are free according to the flesh;Yand they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devilY@(19)

 

For a moment or two, let=s look at the culture many of you are living in right now.  This is a beautiful world, and we live at a most wonderful time.  There are more comforts and knowledge than have ever been available on this earth.  We have the restored gospel, temples, prophets, seers and revelators to bless our lives.  We know of the Atonement and of the potential of a remarkable future. 

 

America is the most powerful and probably the most wonderful nation ever on this earth.  It has allowed the creation of leadership and resources so the kingdom of God on earth has progressed in spreading throughout the world.  Our leaders are trying in their way to bring peace to the world. 

 

But even this is not the Lord=s culture as we know it will be.  It is a democracy rather than a theocracy.  It thrives on competition and survival of the fittest.  Greatness is measured by money, influence, beauty, or athleticism.

 

It harbors an obvious increase in immodesty, pollutions of many kinds, and addictions. 

 

Our challenge is to find how to benefit from the wonderful things available to us and separate from those that take us away from the Savior. 

 

Many practices used in business and government in this culture are not those we should use for church or family leadership.  And yet, even within the Church, I often find in some people=s eyes the worldly concept that the calling given to a person is a measurement of their worthiness and spirituality.  In the oath and covenant of the priesthood the Lord tells of marvelous blessings available to us, but they are based on having priesthood and the magnifying of callings, not the callings themselves.

 

Some of the most spiritual people I know have never even held what some would call a significant position, but they have magnified every assignment they have had, no matter what it was.  I have no question of the wonderful blessings awaiting them because they understand and live as the Lord would have them live.  Transition to his kingdom in heaven will be easy for them. 

 

As soon as we enter our homes or fill our church callings, we should be living by principles from the Lord=s culture.  We need to live successfully in our neighborhood and in the business community, but that can be done without compromising the standards that should be ours. 

 

One common characteristic in our world is seeking for immediate gratification of every desire.  We immediately want a nice home, well furnished, a new car, gadgets, and a leisurely life.  Such immediate pleasures seem more appealing than working for a promised joy that seems a long way off.

 

That is one of Satan=s great tools while the Lord teaches us that we are on an eternal quest of patiently and consistently striving for blessings far beyond anything even imaginable here.

 

We live in a world where terrible social problems are treated from the wrong end.  We enact a plethora of laws, raise armies, and spend billions of dollars in a search for peace and harmony.  Our prophets teach that the solution to most of life=s problems comes by developing families on a solid foundation.  It is much wiser and better to prevent problems than attempt to cure them.

 

I have been told that a major cause of bankruptcies comes from young people not taking time to pay off their expenses of education before they launch into buying many worldly things.  They hear about easy credit, low interest rates, and imagine how impressive they can be with a new this or new that.

 

But latter-day prophets have pled with all their strength for us to avoid debt like we would a plague, separate wants from real needs, and live within our means.  The worst use of money is to pay interest because there is absolutely nothing to show for it.  You will find tremendous temptations to spend money you don=t have, but you will not find lasting happiness and peace by giving in to those appetites.  This is especially true if you pass off your obligations and responsibilities to someone else because you did not keep your promises.

 

Many want to live with all the comforts their parents have obtained over the years.  They may feel their own importance is determined by the size of their home or the neighborhood in which they live or the car they drive.

 

I don=t see anywhere where the Lord uses such measurements to determine our worth or the blessings He would shower upon us.

 

In recent years, traditions of proper marriage and family life have undergone drastic and terrible changes.

 

Many young people put off marriage or having children until they feel they are financially sound or have had what they call a good time.  This thinking has even crept within the Church.  Many missionaries spend two years encouraging others to live gospel principles.  Then too many of them come home and delay far too long in keeping one of the most important of all commandments and opportunities--that of creating an eternal family. 

 

Voices in the world tell you children are a huge expense or very restricting to your lifestyle.  Many think they can substitute pets for children.  But if we listen to the Lord, we understand the major purpose of life is to create eternal families and to multiply and replenish the earth.  We know the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

 

Far too often parents feel it is better to give a lot of material goods to one or two children than to give life to more.  Others may feel they show love for children by purchasing everything the child can possibly imagine.  In doing so, they take away initiative and a sense of values from the child that are so important in the building of his character.  Real love is evidenced by our deeds and teachings.  It can not be purchased or sold.

 

My wife and I have had the privilege of knowing many wonderful couples who have felt the most important thing they could do is raise spiritually mature children.  It is interesting to know many of them who lived meagerly but seemed to have sufficient for their needs.  The children grew with a good sense of values and initiative.  Those parents are now enjoying marvelous blessings and joy in their posterity.  The luxuries they didn=t have are long since forgotten.

 

I will never forget the conversation I had with Stake President Tukuafu in Tonga as we stood outside his lovely home.  It looked out over an inlet of the Pacific Ocean on the island of Tongatapu.  He told me this was the property his parents owned when he was young.

 

They had built a small home on it in which they had raised their large family.

 

He told of the day a family council was called and his mother and father told all their children of a decision they had made.  They knew the most important blessing they could give to their family was for all of them to be sealed in the temple.  The problem was that the closest temple then was in New Zealand, and the only way they could afford to go there was to sell their home and everything they had.

 

He remembers the special experience at the temple in New Zealand and then coming back to Tonga and living in a makeshift hut.  As time went on, president Tukuafu was able to get some education, start a construction business, and begin raising his own family.

 

By unusual circumstances, the original home and property his parents had sold became available for him to purchase and he did so.

 

I looked around at how he had expanded the home and the beautiful care of the lovely grounds.  It has been a historic place to raise his children with a constant reminder before them of the devotion and love of wonderful ancestors.  President Tukuafu is an outstanding stake president and one of the sweetest and most humble men I have met.  He paid great tribute to his parents by what he said and the way he has lived.

 

Some parents will never understand how the Lord helps us do what may seem difficult if they always put their own convenience ahead of fulfilling life=s purposes and relying on him. 

 

There has been a determined effort to confuse the roles of men and women as God intended them.  The confusion has crept into our way of life in very obvious ways.  Great determination is required to keep our family life as clarified in a powerful declaration to the world from the Lord=s representatives on the earth.

 

In this culture around us, the basic ten commandments have been trampled and ignored.  Just as prophesied, many call good evil and evil good.

 

Positions, power, wealth, praise of man, recreation, and many other quests have become Gods and idols to men and women.

 

It is appalling to constantly hear the Lord=s name being taken in vain in everyday conversation.  Most people cannot even express surprise without referring to deity.  When language becomes crude and base, there is always a lowering of spirituality and dignity in that society.

 

The holy Sabbath has become a day of work or recreation or entertainment.  There is encouragement all around to do something other than to spend the day in worshipping and developing spiritual strength as a family.

 

An understanding of true love has been replaced by lust.  The Lord=s standard that we are to have sexual relations only with our husband or wife to whom we are legally and lawfully wedded has never changed.  Mankind thinks they can change that standard, but man has no right to do so.

 

President Hinckley reminds us very forcefully: AWe believe in chastity before marriage and total fidelity after marriage.  That sums it up.  That is the way to happiness in living.  That is the way to satisfaction.  It brings peace to the heart and peace to the home.@(20)

 

You may not have much temptation toward lying, killing, stealing, or other common vices of our day.  But coveting can be a major problem even for faithful saints.  It is closely allied to pride which is the greatest trial for all of us in these latter days.  It is sad to see someone who is unhappy because of what they don=t have rather than rejoicing in what they do have.

 

Cheating and violence are often the means of achieving selfish desires.  Sometimes they are justified as a religious concept.  But we understand we should only do to others as we would like them to do to us--along with a reminder that without charity we are nothing.

 

Fine arts have been a means of praising God and noble aspects of life.  Since we are able to remember words to songs almost better than anything else, it has been a wonderful way to teach great truths to children.  Fine arts have been the frosting of life.  But our culture includes art and entertainment of every kind that is debasing and crude.

 

The problem is that whatever goes into our mind becomes the source of many of our thoughts and later our actions.  It takes great determination to avoid viewing anything that fills our mind with telestial thoughts.

 

We are often very careful to plan out every moment of our lives and then live by that plan no matter what comes.  Life is lived far better by keeping room open always for guidance of the spirit or callings of priesthood leaders to make course adjustments when they are appropriate.

 

In our early married life, we had an experience that was very uncomfortable at the time but which turned out to be a significantly wonderful teaching moment for us.

 

We had just finished my service in the army during the Korean War and two years of graduate school.  We had struggled to come up with a $250 down payment on a very small home but had no money for furnishings or landscaping or much else.  Then we found we had moved into a stake with a very heavy financial debt.  Those were the days when members contributed to ward and stake budget programs and construction of new meetinghouses.

 

I remember the pleas from stake leaders to contribute generously toward payment of $125,000 debt on a meetinghouse used by eight wards so we could then build other much needed buildings.  We said if we had some money, we would like to help.

 

Then President Joseph Fielding Smith came to our stake conference.  I don=t remember all he said, but we will never forget one phrase he used.  He promised us that it would be impossible to ever get the Lord in our debt.  Whatever we did for his work would always come back to us in greater measure if we did it with a willing heart.

 

My wife and I looked at each other with the feeling those words were just for us.  We met with the bishop and told him we would contribute a sizeable amount within a certain time.  We had no idea how we would do it.

 

A few days after meeting with the bishop, I received a call from a dear friend.  His company was doing a project that for several reasons had to be done at night when his staff would not be there.  It was in line with skills I had developed.  Would I come several nights a week and supervise the work?

 

When the project was completed, I made an account of what additional income it had unexpectedly brought to me.  It was then I realized what President Smith had said.  The gross income minus taxes, tithing etc left a net slightly more than what we committed and paid to the building fund.  We also found unexpected ways to meet other expenses.

 

There have been other times we have been asked to do something by a priesthood leader that was contrary to our plans or looked to be beyond our abilities.  But each time we have thought back on President Smith=s promise and found the Lord will not ask us to do something unless he will also help us accomplish what he has asked.  It is not always a dollar for dollar arrangement.  But when we try to do his will and help in his great work, there will be blessings found in return that always exceed in value what we have given.

 

The promise is made to all.  You will never get the Lord in debt to you for you will always receive more blessings than whatever you may give.  But it requires allegiance to him, not to the culture around us or to our own prideful desires.

 

In many ways you have come at a most wonderful time in the history of this world.  Obviously it is a time of preparing for the Savior=s second advent to the earth.

 

That means it is a time of separating the sheep from the goats.  You will face many influences that can draw you away from the most wonderful blessings ever promised.  Some of those influences will be very subtle.

 

They may even come from family or close friends to do what everyone else is doing.  You won=t even recognize what is happening unless you seek for guidance of the spirit in everything you do.

 

There are many more aspects of this culture and others in our world that take away light and truth.  We don=t have time to review all of them but the humble souls who truly want to seek first for the kingdom of God, in all they do, will have promptings and insights that will help them through mortality in the best way possible.  They could be the ones who are able to put off the natural man, which is an enemy to God, and become saints through the atonement of Christ the Lord.

 

You can be swallowed up in the culture in which you live and say this is the thing to do because everyone is doing it.  If you succumb to that, the evil one will deprive you of light and truth and you will have chosen a course of mediocrity.  You will have made the same mistake many others have made before you by choosing the wide gate and broad way.

 

As I indicated earlier, the key is to keep a vision of who you are, what you can be, and how to get there.  Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly and the blessings will come.  You will find the peace that only the Lord can give.  It will not come from anything you purchase or any praise of man, but from the quiet assurance of the spirit whispering - well done thou good and faithful servant.

 

Where do we begin?  In our own homes and apartments.  We must learn to be earnest in our prayers, trying to draw nearer to our God.  We try to master the principles of patience, forgiveness, repentance, and true love as taught by the Savior.  They come line upon line and precept upon precept.  We never know the truth of his words until we actually live them.

 

We strive to make the temple the center of our life for that is where we receive vision of our life=s purpose and a base for making good decisions.  Wherever we are, we try to be kind and thoughtful to all but always choose as the Lord would have us choose in all we say and do.

 

The Savior spoke of being a light unto the world.  Anyone who lives as the Lord has commanded will be in obvious contrast to the surrounding culture as a light shining in darkness.

 

Abinidi may not have known what effect he would have on alma, but an entire civilization was blessed by what he did when the culture in which he lived was contrary to all he believed in.

 

In the final days of his life on the earth the Savior offered a beautiful prayer to his Father in Heaven.  His words could apply to his apostles then or to us now as he said to his Father -

 

I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.(21)

 

Each of us determines how we will spend our time on earth.  We are confronted every day by decisions.  Many of the temptations to do sinfully are very obvious.  But remember you can also lose light and truth or the glory of God by allowing yourself to be caught up in the thinking and ways of the culture in which you live.

 

You and I have the true gospel, the good words of God, that have been restored to enlighten us.  We have prophets, seers and revelators to help us understand how to apply these truths to our daily living.  Like few others that have inhabited this earth, we should know the very best way to live.  May you have the testimony and determination to do so.  I declare I know the Lord lives and has given us the way to return to him.  I pray for all of us to seek first for His kingdom and live his ways, in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

 

References:

1.   Luke 2: 52

2.   Matthew 26: 39

3.   Alma 34: 33

4.   Doctrine and Covenants 93: 36 - 39

5.   Doctrine and Covenants 18: 10 - 11

6.   Doctrine and Covenants 58: 27 - 28

7.   Mark 10: 44 - 45

8.   Genesis 2: 24

9.   Mosiah 10:12

10.  Matthew 22: 21

11.  Galatians 1: 13 - 14

12.  Joshua 24: 15

13.  Matthew 6: 33

14.  2 Corinthians 6: 17

15.  James 4: 4

16.  Doctrine and Covenants 25: 10

17.  April 1999 General Priesthood

18.  Matthew 7: 13 - 14

19.  2 Nephi 2: 27

20.  October  1996 General Conference

21.  John 17:14 - 15

 

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