Sunday, July 8, 2012

Believe, Obey, and Endure - President Thomas S. Monson

Is there a way to safety? Is there an escape from threatened destruction? The answer is a resounding yes! I counsel you to look to the lighthouse of the Lord. I have said it before; I will say it again: there is no fog so dense, no night so dark, no gale so strong, no mariner so lost but what the lighthouse of the Lord can rescue. It beckons through the storms of life. It calls, “This way to safety. This way to home.” It sends forth signals of light easily seen and never failing. If followed, those signals will guide you back to your heavenly home.

I wish to talk with you tonight about three essential signals from the Lord’s lighthouse which will help you to return to that Father who eagerly awaits your triumphant homecoming. Those three signals are believe, obey, and endure.

First, I mention a signal which is basic and essential: believe. Believe that you are a daughter of Heavenly Father, that He loves you, and that you are here for a glorious purpose—to gain your eternal salvation. Believe that remaining strong and faithful to the truths of the gospel is of utmost importance. I testify that it is!

Most of you were taught the truths of the gospel from the time you were a toddler. You were taught by loving parents and caring teachers. The truths they imparted to you helped you gain a testimony; you believed what you were taught. Although that testimony can continue to be fed spiritually and to grow as you study, as you pray for guidance, and as you attend your Church meetings each week, it is up to you to keep that testimony alive. Satan will try with all his might to destroy it. Throughout your entire life you will need to nurture it. As with the flame of a brightly burning fire, your testimony—if not continually fed—will fade to glowing embers and then cool completely. You must not let this happen.

As with anything in life, much of what you take from your seminary experience depends on your attitude and your willingness to be taught. May your attitude be one of humility and a desire to learn. 

LOVE THIS STORY!  {Some years ago I was on a board of directors with a fine man who had been extremely successful in life. I was impressed with his integrity and his loyalty to the Church. I learned that he had gained a testimony and had joined the Church because of seminary. When he married, his wife had been a lifelong member of the Church. He belonged to no church. Through the years and despite her efforts, he showed no interest in attending church with his wife and children. And then he began driving two of his daughters to early-morning seminary. He would remain in the car while they had their class, and then he would drive them to school. One day it was raining, and one of his daughters said, “Come in, Dad. You can sit in the hall.” He accepted the invitation. The door to the classroom was open, and he began to listen. His heart was touched. For the rest of that school year, he attended seminary with his daughters, which led eventually to his membership and a lifetime of activity in the Church. Let seminary help build and strengthen your testimony.} 

There will be times when you will face challenges which might jeopardize your testimony, or you may neglect it as you pursue other interests. I plead with you to keep it strong. It is your responsibility, and yours alone, to keep its flame burning brightly. Effort is required, but it is effort you will never, ever regret. I’m reminded of the words of a song written by Julie de Azevedo Hanks. Referring to her testimony, she wrote:
Through the winds of change
Encircled by the clouds of pain
I guard it with my life
I need the warmth—I need the light
Though the storm will rage
I stand against the pounding rain
I remain
A keeper of the flame.1

Next, young women, may you obey. Obey your parents. Obey the laws of God. They are given to us by a loving Heavenly Father. When they are obeyed, our lives will be more fulfilling, less complicated. Our challenges and problems will be easier to bear. We will receive the Lord’s promised blessings. He has said, “The Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.”

Our decisions determine our destiny.

Precious young women, make every decision you contemplate pass this test: “What does it do to me? What does it do for me?” And let your code of conduct emphasize not “What will others think?” but rather “What will I think of myself?” Be influenced by that still, small voice. Remember that one with authority placed his hands on your head at the time of your confirmation and said, “Receive the Holy Ghost.” Open your hearts, even your very souls, to the sound of that special voice which testifies of truth. As the prophet Isaiah promised, “Thine ears shall hear a word … saying, This is the way, walk ye in it.”

Every Cinderella has her midnight—if not in this life, then in the next. Judgment Day will come for all. Are you prepared? Are you pleased with your own performance?

Finally, may you endure. What does it mean to endure? I love this definition: to withstand with courage. Courage may be necessary for you to believe; it will at times be necessary as you obey. It will most certainly be required as you endure until that day when you will leave this mortal existence.

I have spoken over the years with many individuals who have told me, “I have so many problems, such real concerns. I’m overwhelmed with the challenges of life. What can I do?” I have offered to them, and I now offer to you, this specific suggestion: seek heavenly guidance one day at a time. Life by the yard is hard; by the inch it’s a cinch.

You are precious, precious daughters of our Heavenly Father sent to earth at this day and time for a purpose. You have been withheld until this very hour. Wonderful, glorious things are in store for you if you will only believe, obey, and endure. May this be your blessing, I pray in the name ofJesus Christ, our Savior, amen.

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