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“We Seek After These Things”

May we learn how to learn by the Spirit; may we choose and decide in time how best to prepare for eternity; may we offer global experience and training to contribute to every nation, kindred, and tongue; and may we seek and rejoice in spiritual strengthening.

“Look unto Him in Every Thought”

Obviously we cannot completely control the events that come at us daily, but we can indeed control the worthwhileness of those events. We worship an omniscient God and know that “all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory, saith the Lord.”

Agency, Accountability, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ: Application to Sexual Assault

Whether you are aware of it or not, there is someone around you whose life has been altered by sexual violence. Being “an example of the believers,” living a life of kindness and compassion, keeping your covenant “to mourn with those that mourn,” and serving others can all have powerful effects on those around you. Please do not underestimate the influence of diligent obedience, daily worship, and active service. You can do much good in a general way without realizing how the Spirit is working through you to bless the lives of others.

Be 100 Percent Responsible

Agency and responsibility are inseparably connected. You cannot avoid responsibility without also diminishing agency. Mercy and justice are also inseparable. You cannot deny the Lord’s justice without also impeding His mercy. Oh, how Satan loves to divide complementary principles and laugh at the resulting devastation!

“Without Compulsory Means”

Have you ever been absorbed by a project? Have you ever been driven internally by a goal you wished to accomplish? I believe that when we exercise our agency to learn, grow, and accomplish good in this world and when we apply “the principles of righteousness,” our influence will naturally increase.

The Blessings of Choice

As important as choices are—such as what to major in, what career path to take, where to live, and where to send the kids to school—the choices you make regarding the type of person you want to be are, in my opinion, more important and will help you make those very important decisions regarding the direction you choose for your life and your family.

Our Essential Spiritual Agency

In our fast-paced world, we are sometimes impatient for His plan to unfold. Popular culture tells us, “Get a life.” My advice to all of us is, “Get an eternal life.” By making right choices today, tomorrow, and for the rest of our time on earth, that eternal goal means the most to us.

The Sacred Gift of Agency

Well-meaning people may honestly disagree with my interpretation of how the universe is put together. Agency allows and requires this possibility. But for me, as I noted above, science is faith affirming because I choose to believe, and everything else follows.

Moral Agency

We cannot look to the law to save us when we have broken the law. We need a Savior, a Mediator who can overcome the effects of our sins and errors so that they are not necessarily fatal. It is because of the Atonement of Christ that we can recover from bad choices and be justified under the law as if we had not sinned.

Choices and Changes, Burdens and Blessings

A well-worn and much-loved poem by Robert Frost introduces the subject. You may know the work, or perhaps you have heard only the oft-quoted last lines: Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as…

Agency and Context

A friend of mine who was critical of religion once asked me, “What does it really mean if a person behaves righteously because of external rewards and punishments? Every animal will choose reward over punishment.” Elder Maxwell gave a marvelous talk about agency from this podium three weeks ago. I want to reiterate one of the points he made: A central feature of agency is that God doesn’t coerce us.…

Seasons of Choice

It is a great pleasure to be with you today in this devotional. I am prayerful that the time we spend together will motivate each of us to consider our lives and to evaluate where we are as we begin this new year. Have you noticed how the seasons of our lives move forward in a never-ending stream? I have been fascinated—sometimes surprised, but almost always invigorated—by the changes I…

“Remember That Ye Are Free to Act for Yourselves”

Some of you may be wondering what it would be like to stand here at a podium where prophets, apostles, presidents of the United States, a prime minister of England, Nobel Prize winners, university presidents, and many learned men and women have spoken—particularly some of you who may feel you are not quite as qualified as those who have occupied this place. As the least-qualified devotional speaker in the history…

Therefore Choose Life

In the thirtieth chapter of Deuteronomy we read, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life” (19). With these words Moses challenged the children of Israel to renew their covenant with the Lord. We may have heard the same words earnestly addressed to us by parents, teachers, and church leaders. We know what they mean. Or do we? Perhaps we could gain by pondering…

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