Prophet Urges Young Adults to Be Righteous Examples
Heather Whittle Wrigley, Church News and Events
- Addressing young adults at BYU—Provo, President Monson urged them to “be a righteous example.”
- Our responsibility, he said, is to keep the light aflame for others to see and follow.
- Through Christ, President Monson said, human nature can be changed, “and changed men and women can change the world.”
“Our opportunities to shine are limitless. … As we follow the example of the Savior, ours will be the opportunity to be a light, as it were, in the lives of those around us.” —President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
On November 1, 2011, at a Brigham Young University—Provo devotional that filled the 22,700-seat Marriott Center to capacity, President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints admonished those in attendance to “be a righteous example.”
Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Ann M. Dibb, second counselor in the Young Women presidency and daughter of President Monson, were also in attendance.
“I wondered what I might say to you today, knowing that this is one of the most marvelous audiences in the world,” he began. “Each of you is one of a kind … and yet there’s much we have in common one with another. … We have in common the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we know it’s our responsibility to share the gospel with others.”
Quoting the Apostle Paul from the New Testament—“Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity (1 Timothy 4:12)—President Monson expressed his desire that members of the Church be a light to the world.
“What is light?” he asked. “I prefer the simple ‘something that illuminates.’ Providing an example of righteousness . . . can help to illuminate an increasingly dark world.”
He acknowledged that for many, the light has dimmed almost to the point of being extinguished. Ours, he said, is the responsibility to keep our lights aflame for others to see and follow.
In order to be those examples of the believer, however, we ourselves must believe, he said: “It is up to each of us to develop the faith necessary to survive spiritually and to project our light for others to see. … Remember that faith and doubt cannot exist in the same place at the same time.”
One of the best ways to gain and keep faith, President Monson explained is to read and study the scriptures, and to pray frequently and consistently.
“Have you read the Book of Mormon? Have you put to the test the promise found in Moroni?” he asked.
He told the story of Clayton M. Christensen, who read the Book of Mormon for himself for the first time while attending college at Oxford University. He had read it seven times before, but always as an assignment.
Each night from 11:00 p.m. to midnight he would read, and as he reached the bottom of each page, he would say a prayer.
“One evening,” President Monson related, “by the time he got to the chapters at the end of Second Nephi, he said his prayer, sat in his chair, and opened the book. All of a sudden there came into that room a beautiful, warm, loving Spirit that surrounded him and permeated his soul, enveloping him in a feeling of love that he had not imagined he could feel. … He could see truth in those words that he never imagined he could comprehend before. He could see the glories of eternity, and he could see what God had in store for him as one of His sons. … That same Spirit would always return, and it changed his heart and his life forever.”
President Monson stressed that through Christ, human nature can be changed, “and changed men and women can change the world.”
He urged those in attendance to set aside time each day to find out for themselves if the Book of Mormon is true, “for it will change your heart, and it will change your life,” he said.
Quoting 3 Nephi 12:16—“Let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven”—President Monson explained that Christ is the “’true light, which lighteth every man who cometh into the world’ (John 1:9), a light which ‘shineth in darkness’” (John 1:5).
He concluded, “Our opportunities to shine are limitless. … As we follow the example of the Savior, ours will be the opportunity to be a light, as it were, in the lives of those around us.”
Called as the 16th President of the Church in February 2008, President Monson last spoke to students at a BYU devotional in 2009, when he shared stories from the lives of previous Church Presidents and encouraged students to follow their examples.
President Monson earned his master’s degree in business administration from BYU and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the same institution in 1981.