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Weatherford T. Clayton|Mar. 14, 2017 During our mission in Canada, my wife and I gave a “last instruction” to departing missionaries the day before they went home. Each of these young elders and sisters were heroes to us, and we wanted their transition home to be very, very successful. Our instruction was given with love and good fun. I particularly enjoyed instructing on dating and marriage. One afternoon as I stood at the blackboard during a last instruction, the Spirit pressed Helaman 5:12 deeply into my mind. This scripture came from what could have been the Book of Mormon prophet Helaman’s “last instruction” to his sons prior to their departure for their magnificent mission to the Nephites and the Lamanites. We all quoted the scripture together: And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. What a magnificent verse of scripture. Think of it: Helaman promised us that if we build our foundation upon our Savior, we cannot fall, regardless of what Satan throws at us. What a powerful promise! Our Savior gave the same promise in the Sermon on the Mount: Whoso heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken . . . unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock— And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.1 I bet a lot of you Primary graduates are thinking of a song. Would you sing it with me—just the first two verses, with hand motions? The wise man built his house upon the rock, The wise man built his house upon the rock, The wise man built his house upon the rock, And the rains came tumbling down. The rains came down, and the floods came up, The rains came down, and the floods came up, The rains came down, and the floods came up, And the house on the rock stood still.2 Thank you! Doesn’t this simple song teach a powerful lesson? Luke put it slightly differently: Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them . . . . . . is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.3 When a person comes to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and he
Larry Y. Wilson|Dec. 1, 2015 Today I would like to talk about some of the big issues of our time through the lens of history and literature as well as the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We live in a day of technological and scientific marvels. It is also a time of uncertainty—one in which many question whether or not faith and religion have a place in their lives or in the public square. You too will have to decide whether faith has an enduring place in your own life. In fact, there are dramatic changes occurring within this country as it relates to faith and religion. A recent Pew Research Center study reported a dramatic decline in the share of the U.S. population that identifies as Christian. From 2007 to 2014—in just seven years—it fell by an extraordinary 8 percent.1 While the drop is occurring across the board, it is especially pronounced among young adults. The world today poses many threats to faith in God, and the unfortunate fact is that faith in God is waning. This is not the first time in history that such a crisis of faith has loomed. There was a similar period around 100 years ago. As the twentieth century opened, the world held great hope and enthusiasm for the future. Science was supplying astounding breakthroughs at every turn and the world seemed to be rushing toward a modern period when mankind, through its own self-generated progress and technology, might finally be able to solve the ancient problems of our world. Consider some of the varied discoveries and inventions in just the first decade of the twentieth century. The modern escalator was invented—perhaps a kind of metaphor of man’s supposedly inevitable rise. Marconi sent the first transatlantic radio signal. The vacuum cleaner and the tractor were developed—harbingers of liberation from more arduous forms of labor. The Wright brothers flew the first manned flight. Albert Einstein stunned the world with his theory of relativity. Henry Ford produced more than 10,000 cars on the first assembly line of its kind. The world saw its first talking motion picture and Marie Curie discovered radium.2 Cultural historian Richard Tarnas characterized the period this way: Using his own natural intelligence, and without the aid of Holy Scripture’s divine revelation, man had penetrated nature’s mysteries, transformed his universe, and immeasurably enhanced his existence. . . . His own wits and will could change his world. Science gave man a new faith—not only in scientific knowledge, but in himself.3 This period of time gave rise to what is known as “the myth of progress”—that is, the idea that mankind was somehow destined to rise inexorably on this wave of scientific progress to a new Eden. So it was that on the eve of the First World War, as the quest for power and political dominance reared its ugly head yet again in Europe, the response was a sadly naïve one. If a war must be fought
Kent F. Richards|Mar. 10, 2015 I feel honored and humbled to have received the assignment from the First Presidency to speak to you precious young people today. I hope that you have an appreciation of how much the prophet and the First Presidency care about you and love you. You are among “the noble and great.”1 [A man arrived] home from work to find a very small girl sitting on the curb in front of his house, crying. He asked if he could help. Through her sobs she explained that she was lost. He told her that this was his house and his wife was inside. He told her he knew she shouldn’t go with strangers, but if she felt comfortable going inside, he and his wife would try to find her home. They went into his house, and his wife, Linda, began to console the little girl. “I’m sure you must be very frightened,” she said. “I was frightened,” the girl responded, “until I saw the picture of Jesus hanging on your wall. Then I knew I would be safe.”2 It is the same for us all. The answer always is Jesus Christ. At times you may feel that you are sitting on the curb lost and afraid, but if you will look to the Savior, He will guide you safely home. He is the one infallible source of help for each of us, my dear young adult friends. One of the most profound and sublime of gospel understandings is the doctrine of law. It is stated so simply in the Doctrine and Covenants: “That which is governed by law is also preserved by law and perfected and sanctified by the same.”3 By law, the Father governs us within His great plan of happiness. He sent His Son to show us the way. We learn of Him. We follow Him. We have faith in Him. We pray in His name. Because of His enabling Atonement we can grow, repent, and do what is necessary to invite the fulness of Heavenly Father’s blessings. And we do all of this by law. Within the law, each of us is fully responsible. To have the law work in our lives, we must act; we must stand up from the curb and follow Him. In my sweet interactions with young people in both single and married stakes and as a mission president, I have seen how each young person must discover and then choose to walk his or her own personal path. Sometimes we are tempted to measure our progress by looking at what others are doing or have achieved. Your path is unique to you. Only you can receive heavenly guidance to pursue your path. If you choose to take detours, then you and only you can find your way back. President Henry B. Eyring taught: Heavenly Father has perfect foresight, knows each of us, and knows our future. He knows what difficulties we will pass through. He sent His Son to suffer so that He would know how to succor us in all our trials.4 Christ understands and is aware of your personal young adult decisions; your questions, hopes, dreams, and needs; and the intents of your heart5—and even y
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