"Be Strong in the Lord, and in the Power of
Elder M. Russell Ballard
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
CES Fireside for Young Adults
3 March 2002
You have been blessed,
brothers and sisters, to frequently receive counsel and instruction from
others of my Brethren. I am aware that I must have the power of the Spirit
with me if I am to teach you anything worthwhile. You will also need the
power of the Spirit with you. I pray that this may be the case with each
of us tonight.
I marvel that through
the miracle of technology, I not only speak to those of you here in the
Marriott Center but also to many thousands more who are with us through
the wonders of satellite and Internet technology. On behalf of the First
Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, I extend a warm welcome
to each of you, regardless of where you are. Here in Utah we have just
concluded the 2002 Winter Olympics. It has been a most remarkable time,
one that we will never forget. While all who qualified to participate
are to be highly commended, those great athletes who won the gold, silver,
and bronze medals demonstrated commitment, sacrifice, and discipline that
were remarkable to see. Their dedication to reach their goals through
hard work and focused attention to details made them world champions.
I am sure we will see the same rewards of hard work among the Paralympic
athletes who will begin their competition in just a few days.
Tonight, I would like
to talk with you about what you must do to win the eternal gold that our
Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ have prepared for the faithful
followers of Christ. This prize excels any other accomplishment in life.
The great thing about this contest is that each one of you is in the competition,
and each one of you can win the gold medal of eternal life.
I shall try to speak
to you as if it were just you and me sitting in my living room, sharing
some thoughts about your challenges to stay focused on keeping the commandments
The scriptures describe
our day as one that will be both "great and dreadful" (D&C
110:16). The greatness of our day is that we live when the Church
of Jesus Christ is restored fully to the earth with all of its doctrines,
with the priesthood, and with all of the saving ordinances. We have additional
books of scripture and are led by prophets, seers, and revelators. We
see the Church fulfilling its mission to spread across the world, and
we see temples built and operating in many countries. At the same time,
the "dreadfulness" of our day is evident in such things as the
events of September 11. This tragedy alone brought the whole world to
the painful, dreadful reality that evil is rampant in the world. We also
live in a day where there are very real and very prevalent spiritual dangers.
Note the words of our prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, in our last
"But wonderful as
this time is, it is fraught with peril. Evil is all about us. It is attractive
and tempting and in so many cases successful. . . .
" . . . We live in
a season when fierce men do terrible and despicable things. We live in
a season of war. We live in a season of arrogance. We live in a season
of wickedness, pornography, immorality. All of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah
haunt our society. Our young people have never faced a greater challenge.
We have never seen more clearly the lecherous face of evil" (in Conference
Report, Oct. 2001, 4; or Ensign, Nov. 2001, 56).
As the Lord predicted
in the preface to the Doctrine and Covenants, we now see the time when
"the devil shall have power over his own dominion" (D&C
1:35). Is it any wonder that some are dismayed and disturbed by what
they see? Yet, my dear young friends, we do not find President Hinckley
or the other apostles and prophets wallowing in despair, nor do we sense
even the smallest touch of hopelessness. The opposite is true. As President
Hinckley also said last conference: "Now, I do not wish to be an
alarmist. I do not wish to be a prophet of doom. I am optimistic. I do
not believe the time is here when an all-consuming calamity will overtake
us. . . . There is so much of the Lord's work yet
to be done. We, and our children after us, must do it" (in Conference
Report, Oct. 2001, 89; or Ensign, Nov. 2001, 74).
This hope and optimism
comes because we know, with absolute certainty, that God is in His heaven
and He is the Lord Omnipotent. God's wisdom and knowledge and power are
greater than all the combined forces of evil. He is able to work His will,
and His purposes cannot be frustrated (see D&C
3:1). He has not left you and me to make our way alone in these perilous
times. He is watching over His people. Note just a few of the scriptural
promises to us:
- "He will preserve the righteous by his power"
- "The righteous need not fear; for . . . they
shall be saved" (1
- "The Lord shall have power over his saints,
and shall reign in their midst" (D&C
- Zion shall be "a land of peace, a city of
refuge, a place of safety" (D&C
My beloved young brothers and sisters, those promises
are sure. Peace. Refuge. Safety. That is what our Father wants for His
children. But those promises are also conditional. They are extended to
those who turn to Him and accept the counsel and guidance He has so freely
Long before the world was formed, Satan and those
who followed after him raged against the forces of good and tried to overthrow
the work of God. That struggle has not ended, only shifted battlegrounds.
It is ruthless, and relentless; the objective of the battle is your eternal
soul and mine.
The Apostle Paul spoke of how to arm ourselves for
this conflict in these very graphic terms:
"Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of
"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may
be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,
but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the
darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
"Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of
God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day" (Ephesians
How do we put on the whole armor of God so that
we may, as Paul promises, "be able to [withstand] in the evil day"?
I like to think of this spiritual armor not as a
solid piece of metal molded to fit the body, but more like chain mail.
Chain mail consists of dozens of tiny pieces of steel fastened together
to allow the user greater flexibility without losing protection. I say
that because it has been my experience, covering many more years than
you have yet been privileged to live, that there is not one great and
grand thing we can do to arm ourselves spiritually. True spiritual power
lies in numerous smaller acts woven together in a fabric of spiritual
fortification that protects and shields from all evil.
It is a common expression to talk about the "chinks"
in a person's armor. The definition of the word chink is "a crack,
cleft, . . . a narrow opening" (Webster's New Universal Unabridged
Dictionary , "chink," 361). Should an arrow strike
exactly one of the chinks in one's armor, a fatal wound can result.
I would like to suggest to you six ways we may protect
ourselves by eliminating any chinks or gaps in our personal spiritual
Rely on the Protective Power of Prayer
Number 1: Rely on the protective power of prayer.
There are numerous teachings about the importance of prayer found throughout
the scriptures, but one specifically ties prayer to power, especially
the power to resist temptation. The Doctrine and Covenants teaches, "Pray
always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan,
and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold
his work" (D&C
What a wonderful promise! In this spiritual warfare
that rages over individual souls, that is what we want more than anything
elseto conquer Satan and to escape the hands of evil men and women
who carry out his work. I cannot stress too highly the protective power
that comes into our lives through earnest, humble, consistent, yearning
I know you believe that; but in the hectic, pressure-filled
schedules you face, I also know how easy it is to let prayer slip. Some
of you hit the snooze button on your alarm clocks, thinking you can eke
out just another minute or two of sleep, then jerk awake realizing that
you are going to be late for school or work. On such mornings, prayer
gets pushed aside, perhaps with a feeble promise to yourself that you
will do better tomorrow. Put the alarm clock where you can't reach it
from bed; that will solve this problem. Sometimes you return home late
at night, exhausted and eager to collapse into bed. You may go through
the motions of prayer in a perfunctory and superficial manner, but that
is not the kind of prayer that helps us conquer Satan.
I know many of you live in apartments where you
have four or five roommates. The television or stereo may be on day and
night. People talk loudly enough that even in your bedroom you can hear
them clearly. There is laughter, noise, interruptions. In such circumstances
it is a challenge to find a time and a place where you can be alone with
your Heavenly Father. The Savior spoke of entering our closets to pray
6:6), suggesting the importance of privacy and quiet when we talk
with God. For most of you, your closets will not allow this to happen,
so you need to find a time and place where you can be alone with the Lord
and pour out your heart to Him, that you might add strength and power
to your spiritual lives. Every honest and sincere prayer adds another
piece to chain mail armor.
Perhaps there are some of you who have slipped into
patterns of behavior that you know in your heart are displeasing to the
Lord. You feel unworthy and ashamed to approach your Father in Heaven.
"I'll repent first," you say to yourselves, "and then I'll
begin saying my prayers again." I tell you with all soberness that
those thoughts are not from the Lord, but come from the evil one. Nephi
said it very clearly: "The evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray,
but teacheth him that he must not pray" (2
It is when we are lost in the mists of darkness
and cannot find our way that we most desperately need the influence of
the Lord. Nowhere in all of the scriptural injunctions on prayer do we
find the suggestion that we must first be perfect in order to communicate
A further word of caution: I often hear people say
"I told the Lord" this or "I told the Lord" that.
Be careful not to "tell" Him but, rather, to humbly seek and
ask your Heavenly Father for guidance and direction. Prayer should be
yearning and filled with gratitude.
My young friends, one of the most important ways
to clothe yourselves in the armor of God is to make sure that prayerearnest,
sincere, consistent prayeris part of our daily lives.
Rely on the Protective Power of the Scriptures
Number 2: Rely on the protective power of the scriptures.
There is another very direct and specific promise about how to gain spiritual
power and protection. When his brothers asked Nephi what the meaning of
the rod of iron was, Nephi explained, "I said unto them that it was
the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would
hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations
and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to
lead them away to destruction" (1
Isn't that the protective power that we all seek?
To resist the temptations of Satan. To not be blinded by his cunning ways.
Knowledge gained through our study of the scriptures teaches us how to
get protection from the devil for ourselves.
Note the choice of verbs Nephi used. He did not
talk about merely reading the scriptures. He did not suggest that we only
study the word of God. He said that we must "hearken" to the
word of God and "hold fast" to it. How do we "hold fast"
to the word? This implies much more than a cursory, occasional reading.
We not only need to read and study and learn the scriptural content, we
must hearken to it, follow the principles taught therein, and cling to
those principles as though our very lives depended on itwhich, if
we are speaking of spiritual life, is literally true. Alma taught that
there is great power in the word (see Alma
31:5), but this power won't come by simply having the Book of Mormon
on your bedstand. It won't come by having your parents bear testimony
of the truthfulness of the scriptures. They cannot hold fast to the iron
rod for you; only you can do that.
Again, as I think about your schedules and the pressures
you face at this time in your lives, I can understand why scripture study
can so easily be neglected. You have many demands pulling at you. In some
cases, just maintaining your social life is a full-time occupation. But
I plead with you to make time for immersing yourselves in the scriptures.
Couple scripture study with your prayers. Half an hour each morning privately
studying, pondering, and communicating with your Heavenly Father can make
an amazing difference in your lives. It will give increased success in
your daily activities. It will bring increased alertness to your minds.
It will give you comfort and rock-steady assurance when the storms of
life descend upon you.
Here are some practical suggestions that I hope
will help you derive greater power from your study of the scriptures:
- If possible, set a consistent time and place
to study when you can be alone and undisturbed. Knowing the lifestyle
of many young adults, I think it is safe to say that early morning in
your apartments is one time you can be both alone and have it quiet.
- Always have a marking pencil ready as you study.
Make notations in the margins. Write cross-references. Make the scriptures
yours by marking them.
- Commit yourself to study for a set amount of
time, rather than to just read a chapter or a certain number of pages.
Sometimes a single verse or short passage will take the entire time
as you think about it and consider what it means for you.
- Study topically as well as chronologically. Both
approaches have merit, but we need to go to the Topical Guide or the
index from time to time and read all that the Lord has said on repentance,
or faith, or some other principle.
- Take time to ponder, reflect, meditate, and pray
about what you read. Ask yourselves questions such as "What can
I learn from this passage that will help me come unto Christ and be
more like Him?"
One thing I have learned in life is how frequently
the Lord answers our questions and gives us counsel through the scriptures.
It is not unusual for one of us in the Quorum of the Twelve to say, "I
saw this teaching more clearly than ever before in this verse of scripture."
Let us, then, go to the Lord in prayer, pleading for help or answers; and
those answers will come as we open the scriptures and begin to study them.
Sometimes it is as though a passage hundreds or thousands of years old
was dictated specifically to answer our question.
Remember the promise of the Lord. If you "hold
fast" to the word of God, the fiery darts of the adversary will not
penetrate your chain mail. Your spiritual armor will be strong.
Draw on the Merciful Grace of God
Number 3: Draw on the protection of the merciful
grace of God. This is one of the most important ways we are given to fortify
ourselves in time of peril. As the Lord promised us through the prophet
Moroni: "If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness.
I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient
for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves
before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong
unto them" (Ether
There are several interesting things about that
scripture. First is that the Lord gives us weaknessesnot sin, but
weaknessesso that we may be humble. Think about that for a moment.
If we were perfect in every respect, it would be hard to be humble. Even
in specific things, humility comes harder to those who are very strong
in one area or another. The woman or man who is remarkably beautiful or
handsome can easily become proud of her or his appearance. A brilliant
scholar may look down in condescension on those less intellectually blessed.
Our weaknesses help us to be humble.
Then comes the promise. If we are willing to humble
ourselves, then, as it says, "my grace is sufficient." In the
Bible Dictionary, grace is defined as an "enabling power" (697).
Can you see the significance of that promise?
One of the signs of our day is how frequently we
use the word addiction to describe destructive behavior. We talk
about being addicted to alcohol, about drug addiction, and more recently,
of addiction to pornography. These are all insidious and powerful evils.
Jesus warned His disciples that "whosoever committeth sin is the
servant of sin" (John
8:34). Alma used a similar metaphor when he warned us about the "chains
of hell" (Alma
One of the most devastating effects of sin is that
it weakens you, binds you, brings you down to slavery. The grace of God
and of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the answer to that predicament.
If you will but humble yourselves and turn to Them, then Their grace,
Their enabling power, can not only help you throw off the chains of sin
but actually turn your weaknesses into strengths.
My young brothers and sisters, how I long to have
the reality of that promise sink into your hearts. Are you struggling
with some sin or weakness? It can be something as simple as not having
the willpower to rise in the morning early enough to have time for scripture
study and prayer. It can be something so powerful, such as Internet pornography
or lack of moral self-control, that you feel like you have been pulled
down into an abyss and there is no hope for you. Do you find yourself
hating what you are doing but not able to find the willpower to turn away
from it? Then reach out and humble yourself. The Lord's enabling power
is sufficient to change your heart, to turn your life, to purge your soul.
But you must make the first move, which is to humble yourself and realize
that only in God can you find deliverance.
Number 4: Watch yourselves. This commandment was
given by King Benjamin in his last great address to his people. After
counseling them on various gospel principles and warning them against
certain sins, he said: "But this much I can tell you, that if ye
do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds,
and observe the commandments of God, . . . ye must
perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not" (Mosiah
I have thought much about what King Benjamin meant
by that phrase and its implications for each of us. Here are some of the
things that I have concluded:
Often in the scriptures the Lord speaks of watchmen
on the towers and of watchtowers themselves (see, for example, D&C
101:12, 4360). A watchtower is generally raised so that someone
can climb to the top and see a greater distance. In this way, they are
alerted to danger or threat much sooner than they would otherwise be.
The same principle holds true in our lives. We can
raise watchtowers that help us deal with threats before they actually
descend upon us. Let me give some examples.
Bishops often hear in confessions of moral transgression
a statement something like this: "I was so sure that I would never
be caught in this problem. Somehow, we got carried away, and then it was
too late." The physical and emotional drives associated with physical
affection are powerful, lowering the will to resist and often sweeping
people on to things they will later deeply regret.
It is not enough to simply say, "I will never
do that." This is an excellent example of where we need to "watch
ourselves." The wise couple will build watchtowers to protect themselves
from being swept away. These are simple things, such as limiting the time
they are alone together; strictly avoiding dark, isolated places; and
setting strict limits on the bounds of their physical affection. To wait
until you are caught up in the passion of the moment to start building
watchtowers is to wait until the enemy is upon you, and often it is too
I know that there are some of you who are struggling
with the tenacious power of Internet pornography. You come away from such
encounters ashamed and sickened, vowing that you will never again allow
yourself to give in to such temptation. Such determination is good, but
you need to take intervening action when you are calm and away from the
influence of those images. Move your computer into a room where there
is always the possibility of someone walking in on you. Make sure the
monitor faces the room so that others can see what it is you are doing
on the screen at any time. There are inexpensive software programs that
screen out pornographic sites and eliminate unsolicited pornographic e-mail.
Take action when you are strong so that if you are tempted you will have
armed yourself and it will be much more difficult to fall.
It is such a logical thing to prepare for danger
or discomfort in the natural world. Mountain climbers are very careful
to pack the proper gear. Arctic explorers do not wait until the blasts
of subzero winds strike them to decide what clothing they need. So why
don't we do the same in our spiritual lives?
These are but a few examples of how you can take
preventive and protective action so you are covered with the full armor
of God. Remember, "It is far better to prepare and prevent than it
is to repair and repent."
Don't Waste the Days of Your Probation
Number 5: Don't waste the days of your probation.
The scripture from which this phrase comes is found in Second Nephi: "Wo
unto him that has the law given, . . . that wasteth
the days of his probation" (2
How does one "waste" the days of this
probation? Turning to sin is surely part of it, but there is another,
more subtle way, a way that may not seem evil at all. In the Doctrine
and Covenants the Lord gave a similar warning in these words: "Thou
shalt not idle away thy time, neither shalt thou bury thy talent that
it may not be known" (D&C
Why would I speak of that with you? Because one
of the ways Satan lessens your effectiveness and weakens your spiritual
strength is by encouraging you to spend large blocks of your time doing
things that matter very little. I speak of such things as sitting for
hours on end watching television or videos, playing video games night
in and night out, surfing the Internet, or devoting huge blocks of time
to sports, games, or other recreational activities.
Don't misunderstand me. These activities are not
wrong in and of themselves (unless, of course, you are watching salacious
programs or seeking out pornographic images on the Internet). Games, sports,
recreational activities, and even television can be relaxing and rejuvenating,
especially in times when you are under stress or heavily scheduled. You
need activities that help you to unwind and rest your minds. It is healthy
to go onto the soccer field or the basketball court and participate in
vigorous physical activity. So again I say, these things are not wrong
in and of themselves.
No, I speak of letting things get out of balance.
It is not watching television, but watching television hour after hour,
night after night. Does not that qualify as idling away your time? What
will you say to the Lord when He asks what you have done with the precious
gift of life and time? Surely you will not feel comfortable telling Him
that you were able to pass the 100,000-point level in a challenging
This idea of not wasting the days of our probation
has deeper significance. One of the greatest challenges of this life is
the ordering of priorities. If we do not do this wisely, then things that
matter most in life are at the mercy of things that matter least.
This is a most important time in your lives. As
single young adults, you face some of the most critical and pivotal decisions
of mortalityserving a mission, education and career, marriage. This
time in your lives is a time to focus on those decisions. That takes time.
One devastating effect of idling away our time is that it deflects us
from focusing on the things that matter most. Too many people are willing
to sit back and let life just happen to them. It takes time to develop
the attributes that will help you to be a well-balanced person. It takes
time, prayer, and pondering to determine what kind of man or woman you
want to marry. It takes time, prayer, pondering, and much more effort
to become the kind of man or woman your eternal partner wants to marry.
We hear of students, both male and female, who are
so focused on academic success or moving up the career ladder that they
"don't have time for dating." We hear young people say that
they will postpone marriage or having children until they can afford them.
Let me tell you as a father of seven children, you will never be able
to afford them. So just trust in the Lord as Sister Ballard and I did.
Somehow it works, with His help. Others want to wait "until I graduate,"
"until we can buy a home," or "until I'm settled in my
career." I am reminded of a statement sometimes cited by President
Boyd K. Packer: "There are many who struggle and climb and finally
reach the top of the ladder only to find that it is leaning against the
wrong wall" ("That All May Be Edified" ,
275). Now is the time to carefully evaluate which walls you are approaching
with your ladders.
Sooner or later in life you will be released from
every calling in the Church. Perhaps my release is not the best alternative,
but it will surely come. You will quit or retire from every position in
life except two: You brethren will never be released from being a husband
and a father. You sisters will never be released from being a wife and
a mother. You cannot be exalted without an eternal mate. That is the sum
of it. You young men especially need to remember that "in the celestial
glory there are three heavens or degrees;
"And in order to obtain the highest, a man
must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting
covenant of marriage];
"And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.
"He may enter into the other, but that is the
end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase" (D&C
Remember, you can be exalted without a college
degree. You can be exalted without being slender and beautiful.
You can be exalted without having a successful career. You can
be exalted if you are not rich and famous. So focus the best that you
can on those things in life that will lead you back to the presence of
Godkeeping all things in their proper balance. There are those who
may never marry in mortality. But all of God's blessings will ultimately
come to those who are righteous and true to the gospel.
Oh, my dear young brothers and sisters, this is
the day of your probation. This is a precious window of opportunity to
prepare for your future. Do not waste this time away. Get out a paper
and pencil, and write down the things that matter most to you. List the
goals that you hope to accomplish in life and what things are required
if they are to become a reality for you. Plan and prepare and then do.
Remember That Reverence Invites Revelation
Now, number 6: Remember that reverence invites revelation.
I shall dwell on this only briefly, but it is of great importance in spiritually
fortifying yourselves. A lack of reverence opens up not just chinks in
our chain mail armor, but creates great gaps of vulnerability.
In the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord declared
that "your minds in times past have been darkened because . . . you
have treated lightly the things you have received" (D&C
84:54). That is a recurring theme in the revelations. "Trifle
not with sacred things," the Lord warned Oliver Cowdery (D&C
In a time of peril and danger, the last thing we
need is to have our minds darkened. And yet, we have seen a great increase
in how the world treats lightly and often offensively things of deep value.
The media jokes and pokes fun at even the most sacred things. Television
sitcoms, as they are called, show people constantly engaging in crude,
rude, immoral, and cruel banter.
When we speak of reverence, we are talking about
much more than mere quietness at our meetings. Reverence is an attitude
of mind and heart. It involves a keen sense of God's majesty and infinite
goodness and our unworthiness and our need for Him and His redeeming grace.
It includes a profound sense of the sacred and a desire to honor and protect
President Packer said:
"Reverence invites revelation. . . .
"No one of us can survive in the world of today,
much less in what it soon will become, without personal inspiration. The
spirit of reverence can and should be evident in every organization in
the Church and in the lives of every member" (in Conference Report,
Oct. 1991, 2829; or Ensign, Nov. 1991, 2223).
Without belaboring that point, may I say just a
few things that some of you may need to consider? As leaders, we see some
patterns related to reverence that, if not corrected, may open up chinks
in your spiritual armor. For example, we have noticed a growing trend
in the Church, but especially among young adults, to arrive late at sacrament
meeting, priesthood, and other meetings. Bishops and stake presidents
report some members coming in as late as half an hour after the meeting
has started. Occasionally, there may be a legitimate excuse for not arriving
on time (such as an emergency appendectomy), but in most cases it is because
you simply plan poorly or do not care enough. The ideal would be to arrive
five or ten minutes early so you can sit in the chapel quietly listening
to the prelude music and preparing yourselves to worship. Our sacrament
meetings belong to the Savior. When you arrive late, it not only interrupts
the reverence of others, but it is a sign of your own disrespect and apathy.
Far too often we see young adults who persist in
whispering during the administration of the sacrament. Their minds and
hearts are obviously not focused on the emblems of which we partake. It
is hard for me to comprehend how anyone who has an understanding and an
appreciation for the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ could allow this
Here are a few other concerns:
- Each human soul is precious in the sight of God
18:10). To belittle or ridicule someone who has traits that you
view as peculiar or to speak in a demeaning manner of members of the
opposite sex is offensive to God.
- Gossip and the passing on of half-truths or untruths
about others will, likewise, cause you to lose power.
- Joking about sacred things, or speaking of them
in inappropriate places or in inappropriate ways, is a sign of irreverence.
Off-color language or swearing is offensive and wrong.
- The intimate relationship between a man and a
woman is one of the most sacred aspects of the Lord's plan. Vulgar jokes
and bawdy comments about this relationship deeply offend the Spirit.
By carefully cultivating an attitude of reverence
in these matters, you will strengthen the power and the influence the
Spirit has in your life. Remember, "reverence invites revelation."
The Lord has given us specific doctrines and principles
that show us how to clothe ourselves in the armor of God so that we can
stand against the powers of evil. I have tried to suggest a few ways to
incorporate gospel principles into your lives. In most cases, we are not
talking about massive changes of behavior. As with chain mail, you need
simply to add small, individual pieces of armor each day through prayer,
scripture study, focusing on things that matter, and by acting in a reverent
In the closing session of last conference, President
Hinckley made this simple but wonderful declaration: "Our safety
lies in the virtue of our lives. Our strength lies in our righteousness.
God has made it clear that if we will not forsake Him, He will not forsake
us" (in Conference Report, Oct. 2001, 112; or Ensign, Nov.
I close as I began. We are all in the contest of
seeking to live eternally with our Heavenly Father and our Savior, the
Lord Jesus Christ. All that They have can be ours. What They offer far
excels any earthly accomplishment. So, my dear young friends, "go
for the real gold." Go forward, keeping the commandments of God and
following the admonition of the Apostle Paul:
"Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of
"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may
be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Ephesians
I leave you my witness that Jesus is the Christ.
He lives and presides over His Church. He loves the young adults of His
Church, and I humbly pray and invoke a blessing upon each one of you.
In the sacred and beloved name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.