Elder Perkins Gives Students Four Steps to Inspired Decisions
By Sonja Carlson, Church News staff writer
- For inspired decisions:
- 1. Qualify for the Spirit by obeying commandments.
- 2. Move forward in faith, even without perfect knowledge.
- 3. Commit fully to inspired decisions and live in the present.
- 4. Draw on the strength of trusted loved ones to sustain the journey.
“When we seek to be led by the Spirit and go forth in faith, often not knowing precisely what course to pursue, life can curiously turn out to be more abundant than we might ever imagine.”—Elder Anthony D. Perkins of the Seventy
Elder Anthony D. Perkins of the Seventy counseled Brigham Young University students to “go forth in faith.”
“When we seek to be led by the Spirit and go forth in faith, often not knowing precisely what course to pursue, life can curiously turn out to be more abundant than we might ever imagine,” he said during a campus devotional in the Marriott Center on February 4.
Elder Perkins said that young adults are living in what Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has called the “decade of decision” and that important decisions of their lives—such as serving a mission, going to the temple, getting an education, selecting an occupation, and choosing an eternal companion—will be made in their late teens and 20s.
Sharing “four lessons of inspired decision-making by Nephi,” Elder Perkins encouraged young adults who might be struggling in making such decisions to go forward.
1. Qualify for the Spirit by obeying commandments.
Elder Perkins emphasized that Nephi’s “faith in and love for the Savior is exemplified in his actions to obey God’s commandments. … Such obedience permitted the Holy Ghost to powerfully accompany Nephi throughout his life and yielded ongoing personal revelation.”
2. Move forward in faith, even without perfect knowledge.
Elder Perkins said the Lord gave Nephi “specific guidance only ‘from time to time.’”
“If you are waiting for God to unmistakably reveal to you what academic major to pursue, whom to marry, what job offer to accept, where to live, whether to go to graduate school, and how many children to bear, then you will likely never leave your apartment,” he said.
He taught that, as Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles says, answers to prayers come through personal revelation in one of three ways: confirming assurance, unsettled feeling, and divine trust.
3. Commit fully to inspired decisions and live in the present.
“Nephi’s commitment on the journey to the promised land stands in stark contrast to that of his brothers Laman and Lemuel,” he said. “Today, the world has too many Lamans and Lemuels. ... You will experience greater progress in life when you wholly commit to your decisions and strive to excel in your current circumstances even while you have an eye open to the future. Doors usually open to the fully committed.”
4. Draw on the strength of trusted loved ones to sustain the journey.
Elder Perkins recalled a time he realized Nephi’s wife most likely became his “trusted anchor” along the journey after leaving Jerusalem. He said his family was vacationing in Utah from their home in Beijing, and he became transfixed by a painting at the Church History Museum showing Nephi tied to the mast of a ship during a storm; Nephi’s wife and one of his children were at his side, experiencing his trial along with him. Elder Perkins said he then realized that he was also blessed with a loyal spouse to help him during his trials.
“I invite each of you to become the type of person that your current or future spouse can draw on for wise counsel and strength,” he said. “Drifting aimlessly without spiritual or temporal purpose will not enhance your prospects for a successful marriage. Do not retreat into an impenetrable shell because of prior relationship rejections and pains. Invest yourself in finding a mutually compatible companion, and be willing to move forward in faith when you feel you have found the right person. Do not let fears of repeating the broken marriage of your parents or your friends keep you from that crowning covenant.”
He promised that applying Nephi’s lessons to decision-making will lead to personal revelation.
“As you progress through the decade of decision, may you have the faith to say, as did Nephi, ‘I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do. Nevertheless I went forth.’”