“That Ye May Be the Children of Light”Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles November 3, 1996 • Devotional
Do you remember being afraid of the dark when you were a child? When you became frightened, you probably turned on the lights—all the lights in the house! When your parents came home later in the evening, they would ask, “Why is every light in the house on?” Then they would proceed to lecture you about the family budget and the cost of electricity.
You had learned, however, that by turning on an electric light or by lighting a candle, there was no more darkness, no more fear. You learned a simple law of nature, which is also a spiritual law: Light and darkness cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Satan and his disciples cannot tolerate the spiritual light of the gospel; they must immediately depart.
When we live the commandments, our countenance is surrounded by gospel light. With this spiritual light we no longer wander in the strange and darkened paths of the adversary, becoming lost, discouraged, depressed, and fearful. Walking in the light of the gospel, we will not lose sight of our eternal goals.
Teach me to walk in the light of his love;
Teach me to pray to my Father above;
Teach me to know of the things that are right;
Teach me, teach me to walk in the light.
[“Teach Me to Walk in the Light,” Songbook, p. 177]
Jesus taught that we should be faithful and believing children of light. “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness” (1 Thessalonians 5:5). “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:46).
That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. [That perfect day is when we will be able to stand in the presence of God and endure his light.]
And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you. [D&C 50:24–25]
Truth is light that dispels darkness. “Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the life and the light of the world” (D&C 11:28; see 3 Nephi 9:18).
While Jesus was teaching the people, they inquired about his death and wondered if they would be left alone when he was gone from their presence in mortality. “Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you,” meaning he would soon depart mortality. “Walk while ye have the light [with you],” meaning that he was in their presence.
Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.
While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed. [John 12:35–36; emphasis added]
It is important that we understand the significance to each of us when Jesus taught “believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.” We must have faith and know that we are children of light and that through faith in Jesus, our Savior, and obedience to his commandments we may have his Spirit, his light, to be with us to guide us always. If we are to be children of light, we must walk in the light and, with our agency, choose the right. Yes, walk in the light and shun darkness; we must choose the right and defend the right when the choice is placed before us.
Think of the choices you are making each day. Will I go to school? How hard will I study? Will I go to church? How obedient will I be to the commandments that have been taught to me? Will I prepare myself to go to the temple and on a mission? Will I be worthy to go to the temple and be sealed to my companion for time and all eternity? Who will be my friends, and did I choose them for the right reasons? What kind of a friend will I be? What kind of a son or daughter, brother or sister, am I? Do I spiritually strengthen all family members with my conduct and attitude? Will I be honest and live with integrity in all my choices? These and many more choices and decisions must be encountered each day of our lives. How we make each daily choice in life affects what we become during our life in mortality, as well as having eternal consequences. If we, as members of the Church, are obedient and walk in the light, having both the Light of Christ and the gift of the Holy Ghost to guide us, we will make the right choices. If we make our choices without the Holy Ghost, we will make wrong choices that lead us toward the darkness—and we will wander in strange paths and be lost.
The first teaching about light begins in the Bible, in the book of Genesis, where the creation of earth is recorded. God divided light from darkness. Also, the separation of light and darkness symbolizes the difference between the Light of Christ and the darkness that surrounds Satan and his followers. Satan is known as the prince of darkness.
Let’s turn to the scriptures:
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. [Genesis 1:1–5]
When the Spirit of God moved upon the Creation, there was light. The light of the Spirit is good and will always divide and dispel the darkness of evil. We will never be left in darkness if we are obedient to the commandments and have the Holy Ghost with us always.
In our daily lives we must understand how important the light of the Spirit is to us. As in the creation of earth, the Light of Christ is our salvation and protection from the darkness of the adversary. We will never be left without the Light of Christ even when there is darkness all around us in this mortal probation. In the creation of the earth we are assured of light even on the darkest of nights. The book of Genesis teaches more about the importance of light as a part of the creation of earth.
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; . . .
. . . lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day [the sun], and the lesser light to rule the night [the moon]: he made the stars also [for the night].
And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. [Genesis 1:14–19]
Just reflect on the power of the light provided for this earth by our loving Heavenly Father. Without light, living things now on earth would be unable to survive. Light from the sun provides energy for life on earth. Plants change the energy of sunlight into food energy in a process called photosynthesis. Very nearly all living organisms on earth depend directly or indirectly on photosynthesis for their food energy. We depend also on the energy of sunlight to warm the earth, to keep it in the temperature range necessary for living things to survive.
The light from the moon and stars provides a navigational standard that can guide the mariner directly toward his intended goal. The Light of Christ provides a spiritual standard to guide us safely home to live again with him and with our Heavenly Father.
When we talk of the Holy Ghost and of having the Spirit to be with us, we must talk about obedience. When we pray, when we study the scriptures, when we obediently live the commandments, we have within us a guiding light that can be obtained in no other way. The Light of Christ is brighter than the sun. Where Christ is, there is no need of the illumination of the sun, moon, or stars.
“And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Revelation 21:23; emphasis added). “They need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 22:5; emphasis added). The Lord said, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:5). “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life [eternal life]” (John 8:12; emphasis added).
“But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him” (John 11:10). “Then Jesus said unto them, . . . Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth” (John 12:35). “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8; emphasis added).
And the Savior also said, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:46). “To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79).
The Lord is an everlasting light without beginning and without end. His light will never fail us in times of need. Isaiah taught, “The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee [by night]: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory” (Isaiah 60:19; emphasis added). “Light is come into the world, and men loved darkness” (John 3:19). “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth. Light and truth forsake that evil one” (D&C 93:36–37).
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. [John 3:19–21]
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. [Acts 26:18]
Contrast the condition of despair and darkness that is Satan’s with the joy and happiness that dwells with us in the brightness of hope that is found in the Spirit and in the light of our Savior.
We need eyes that see the Light of Christ. The human eye does not function in total darkness. It functions on the basis of reflected light. Sight, or vision, is a rapidly occurring process that involves continuous interaction between the eye, the nervous system, and the brain. When someone looks at an object, what they really see is the light reflected from the object. This reflected light passes through the lens and falls on the retina of the eye. Here the light induces nerve impulses that travel through the optic nerve to the brain and then over other nerves (75 to 150 million rods and about 7 million cones in the human retina) to muscles and glands. Having “eyes to see” requires reflected light. The human eye cannot function in total darkness. Heavenly Father never left us without light. We must use our eyes to see, ears to hear, and heart to understand.
“Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house” (Ezekiel 12:2). We live in the world, but we must not be of the world. Our eyes need to see the reflected light of the Holy Spirit and gospel truths. “By the power of the Spirit our eyes were opened and our understandings were enlightened, so as to see and understand the things of God” (D&C 76:12).
But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. [Matthew 13:16–17]
The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us. [D&C 130:22]
Church members must use both the Light of Christ and the gift of the Holy Ghost that has been given us to make the most important choice—whom we will serve.
Joshua, an elderly prophet, gave the people a choice. Joshua taught his people this principle:
Now therefore fear the Lord [to fear the Lord is to honor, respect, and love the Lord], and serve him in sincerity and in truth. . . .
. . . serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve . . . : but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. . . .
And the people said unto Joshua, . . . we will serve the Lord. [Joshua 24:14–15, 21]
“Choose you this day whom ye will serve . . . : but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” is the declaration of a great prophet teaching his people, reminding them of their shortcomings. It is a declaration of his testimony and what he and his family or house intended to do. And the people said, “We will serve the Lord.” And Joshua caused a pillar of stone to be erected. “And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the Lord” (Joshua 24:26) as a testimony that the people had agreed to serve the Lord. And Joshua said, “Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him” (Joshua 24:22). And they accepted that challenge and were witnesses against themselves that they agreed to serve the Lord. We are told in this scripture that the people under Joshua did serve the Lord, and the people that lived after him served the Lord and were true to this covenant. Once we have made the choice to serve the Lord, we will then have the light and Spirit within us to use our agency to make the right choices, and so will our posterity for generations to come.
Enoch humbly asked why he had found favor, for he described himself as “but a lad,” and “slow of speech.” He said, “All the people hate me” (Moses 6:31). The Lord told him to go and do as he was commanded, and “no man shall pierce thee” (Moses 6:32). When we do as the Lord commands, we are protected from the fiery darts of the adversary. Enoch was told to “open thy mouth, and it shall be filled” (Moses 6:32). He was told to say to his people, “Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God” (Moses 6:33). He was promised that mountains would flee before him and rivers would turn from their courses. My message today is to do as the Lord has commanded, walk in the light, choose the right, and put on the whole armor of God (see D&C 27:15–18) so that you can defend the right and choose ye this day to serve the Lord.
You are standing at the crossroads of life with many choices placed before you. Everything that you need to guide you has been learned in your home or from Primary and other Church teachings, or from seminary and institute classes. You will be leaving your homes. You have been given agency, and you will have choices to make that will have an influence on who you are and what you will be. In Primary you learned to “choose the right when a choice is placed before you” (“Choose the Right,” Hymns, 1985, no. 239). What is meant by “choose the right”? (See Choose the Right, 1997 Children’s Sacrament Meeting Presentation and Sharing Time.)
Heavenly Father has blessed us with agency to choose right from wrong.
And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall [by his atonement]. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon. . . .
Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh. . . . And 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 devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.
And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit. [2 Nephi 2:26–28]
Agency means I am free to choose right or wrong and I am responsible for my choices. What choices can I make even if others around me choose to be unrighteous? The story of Joseph is a good example of the righteous choices we can make under the most adverse conditions. Joseph served the Lord faithfully and blessed his family after being sold into Egypt by his brothers at age 17. He was later tempted by Potiphar’s wife and was placed among evil and designing men who surrounded the pharaoh. In every challenge he proved faithful (see Genesis 37, 39, 41). May we all be faithful and strong like Joseph when we have difficult choices to make in times of trials and tribulations.
For verily I say unto you, blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven. [D&C 58:2]
Remember that whenever we have a choice to make, there is opposition. “And it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves” (D&C 29:39).
We are accountable to our Heavenly Father and to our earthly parents for our choices. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:20).
We must love the Lord as he showed love for his Father and follow his example of being obedient to choose the right. “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love” (John 15:10). Sometimes we forget how obedient Jesus was to his Father’s commandments and desires. “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (Abraham 3:25).
Heavenly Father gave us commandments to guide us and help us choose the right. Often we hear that commandments are restrictive and difficult to live. Commandments are given to us by a loving Father who cares for us and wants us, through our obedience, to live a happy and joyous life. “But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” (D&C 59:23).
Choosing to live the commandments saves us the pain and sorrow that come from acts of disobedience. Light and truth forsake that evil one. The greatest sorrow would be living unworthy here in mortality and not to be able to return into the presence of God the Father eternally.
If we remain faithful in keeping our covenants after going to the temple, we will have the opportunity of returning to him. To return into the presence of God, we must keep our minds and bodies pure and healthy.
If thou wilt do good, yea, and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God; for there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation. [D&C 6:13]
Our choices have consequences. We all chose to live Heavenly Father’s plan, obtaining a mortal body and coming to earth. “In the image of his own body, male and female, created he them, and blessed them . . . in the day when they were created and became living souls in the land upon the footstool of God” (Moses 6:9).
We must be obedient to the commandments if we are to receive blessings that come from our faithful consecration.
There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. [D&C 130:20–21]
For thus saith the Lord—I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.
Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory. [D&C 76:5–6]
The atonement of Jesus Christ allows us to correct our wrong choices by sincere repentance. Repentance requires us to recognize that we have done wrong and confess of our sins to our bishop and to the Lord. We must experience sincere sorrow for our transgression and make a commitment to never repeat our disobedient act. In addition, we are required to make restitution to the injured parties to the fullest extent that is possible. Our feelings when we have done wrong weigh us down with sorrow and shame.
For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence. [Alma 12:14]
Oh, but then there is the joy of experiencing the joyful heart and the peace of mind that come from feeling the Spirit and being granted the remission of our sins after attaining full repentance from our transgression because of our faith in Jesus Christ.
And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words which king Benjamin had spoken unto them. [Mosiah 4:3]
Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.
By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them. [D&C 58:42–43]
For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent. [D&C 19:16]
We should prepare ourselves each week to be worthy of partaking of the sacrament and renewing our baptismal covenants. When we were baptized we took upon us the name of Jesus Christ. Taking upon us the sacred name of Jesus Christ was a covenant and brought with the ordinance of baptism a promise of consecrated service and obedience to his commandments—a promise we renew each time we partake of the sacrament (see D&C 20:37, 77, 79; 68:27). If we can partake worthily of the sacrament each week, we will remember his atoning sacrifice for us, take his sacred name upon us, and covenant to keep his commandments. When we have done these things, he gives us the greatest blessing that he can bestow upon us—to always have his Spirit to be with us. What greater blessing could we ask for, here in mortality?
When we are making choices, we should be mindful of the sacred ordinances and covenants taken at our baptism and renewed each time we partake of the sacrament, and also of the covenants we make in the temple.
Daily prayer, scripture study, and obedience to the commandments will assure us of having the Holy Ghost to guide and strengthen us as we make important right choices in life.
Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day. [Alma 37:37]
Daily prayers and scripture study will help us to ask the question “What does Jesus want me to do?” And our obedience to the commandments will give us the courage to do what is right. Studying the scriptures and the teachings of living prophets helps us apply lessons learned to our immediate needs, helps us make right decisions, and blesses us throughout our lives. “O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God” (Alma 37:35). If we will learn to make right choices when we are young, we will make right decisions when we are older. Then eternal blessings can be ours. “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers” (D&C 112:10). “Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart” (D&C 8:2).
Sometimes difficult choices require a great deal of pondering and praying before we receive the confirmation of the Spirit, giving peace to our mind that our decision is the right choice. Oliver Cowdery was admonished to be patient when seeking the direction of the Spirit:
But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.
But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me. [D&C 9:8–9]
We have spoken of the Light of Christ and of the importance of having the Holy Ghost to guide us as we make righteous decisions. As I have been preparing this message to share with you, I have had feelings that we should be like the Savior as he admonished us to “Come, follow me” (Luke 18:22). Wouldn’t it be pleasing to Jesus if we could let our light so shine that those who followed us would be following the Savior? There are those searching for the light who will gladly pass through the gate of baptism onto the straight and narrow way that leads to eternal life (see 2 Nephi 31). Will you be that light that will lead them to a safe harbor?
The headlines in a recent newspaper article seemed to jump off the page: “Lost in Fog, 757 Plunges into Pacific.” With 70 people on board, Aeroperu Flight 603 from Lima, Peru, to Santiago, Chile, had fallen from the dark and foggy sky into the icy Pacific waters off the coast of Peru. What happened? Moments before the crash the pilot of the aircraft was asking the same question: “What’s happening? What altitude am I at? Why is my ground crash alarm on? Am I over land or sea? . . . I don’t have any instruments.” (See Salt Lake Tribune, 3 October 1996, A1, A9.) With a failed navigational system and thick fog preventing him from seeing any lights on the ground, I believe the pilot may have been experiencing vertigo. If an airplane turns at a constant two or three degrees, the motion is imperceptible. If a person inside cannot see lights from the instrument panel or from the sky or ground, before long he could be flying completely upside down and not even be aware of it. When a pilot realizes he is losing altitude, his automatic reaction is to pull the stick back. If he is not flying straight and level, however, his airplane can dive toward the earth rather than climb toward the safety of the sky.
If we are not careful, we can experience spiritual vertigo. If we stray off the course of obedience only two or three degrees—an almost imperceptible difference—we can become disoriented. Losing sight of our eternal destination and not even realizing how far off course we are, we will make poor choices. Our Savior does not want us to crash. His desire is for us to choose the route that will bring us back on the straight and narrow path to live with him eternally. “Come, follow me,” he has told us. He provides the light that will keep us on course and bring us back into his presence.
The pilot of Aeroperu Flight 603 asked for a guide plane—a light, if you will—to show him the way to the airport.
Before dawn, officials [in Peru] lined up ambulances, firetrucks, gasoline-powered generators and reflectors on the dark beach so that possible survivors would have bright lights to swim toward. [Salt Lake Tribune, 3 October 1996, A9]
A beautiful hymn, “Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy,” gently reminds us of the importance of being a light for others to follow:
Brightly beams our Father’s mercy
From his lighthouse evermore,
But to us he gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning;
Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.
[Hymns, 1985, no. 335]
Have you ever stopped to think that perhaps you are the light sent by Heavenly Father to lead another safely home or to be a beacon from a distance to show the way back to the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life? Your light is a beacon and should never stop burning or mislead those who are looking for a way home. Let the lower lights keep burning—you may save a struggling seaman in the turbulent sea of life.
Elder John H. Groberg was once asked to go with Elder Boyd K. Packer to Samoa to create a new stake on the island of Upolu. Their plan was to fly one afternoon from Savai’i to Upolu. On the day of the scheduled flight, however, an intense tropical storm stirred up the elements, so much so that it was far too dangerous to fly. The only way back to Upolu was by boat, and that mode of travel would be extremely treacherous.
The flight to Upolu would have taken less than a half hour, and under normal conditions the boat journey would have taken just a few hours. Conditions were far from normal, however. The boat went up and down and rolled . . . and pitched all over that angry ocean for many more hours than usual. [John H. Groberg, The Fire of Faith (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996), p. 257]
It was a terrible evening. Nearly everyone on board got sick. They held tightly on to one another to keep from being thrown overboard.
Finally, in the thick darkness of the night, they approached the harbor of Malifanua only to learn that they had another obstacle.
There was only a small opening in the reef and [they] had to negotiate it perfectly to keep from getting torn to pieces on the sharp coral on either side. . . .
Normally there are two lights for night entry—one at the wharf and another up the hill a way. When you line those two up you know you are entering the opening properly. Unfortunately the only light on that night was the one on the wharf. The one up the hill was not on, so [they] could not tell accurately where to enter the opening. [They] later found that the two men who were supposed to turn on the light on the hill had said to each other: “It’s a terrible stormy night and no one would be crazy enough to try to come from Savai’i. Let’s just stay home tonight and not go out in such a storm for no reason.” [Groberg, Fire of Faith, p. 257]
The boat in which Elder Groberg and Elder Packer were traveling had to reroute to a safer port some distance around the island. They arrived cold and soaked with ocean water with little time to spare before their meetings began in Upolu.
It isn’t just nice to be a light for others; it is essential for their exaltation as well as for our own. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
We are children of light. As children of light, we walk in the light and choose the right and stand for the right.
Choosing the right is a decision-making process. Choose to learn what is the right way to live your life, learning principles and keeping the commandments and covenants that guide and protect you as you exercise your agency in daily choices.
Will you have a desire to do what is right once you know what is right? Choose to do what is right when you have a choice to make that will affect your eternal goals, such as controlling the natural man’s attitude and pride. Be humble.
Choose to do what is right because your greatest desire is to love the Lord and to be obedient to his laws, ordinances, and commandments so that you can return back into his presence eternally. Choose to do what is right because you love yourself and because you honor those who love you.
Help others to do what is right. Choose to be of service and be an example of what is right by lifting and strengthening others to do what is right because you care.
Choose to turn around and repent immediately if you ever depart from the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life. Repentance is a merciful result of our Savior’s atoning sacrifice because of the love our Father in Heaven and his Son Jesus Christ have for each of us.
I leave you my testimony that I know that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ. I ask that each one of us, as we contemplate and think about the discussion this evening, will be a light, that we will walk in the light, that we will choose the right, and that we will defend the right. I know that God lives. His Son Jesus Christ is the light that has been given to us so that we may follow and know where to go. That each one of us may choose the right and lift and strengthen those around us, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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Robert D. Hales was a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when this fireside address was given at Brigham Young University on 3 November 1996.