Elder Cook Encourages All Members to Rely on the Atonement
Just moments after President Thomas S. Monson announced that worthy and able young men and young women may now be called at ages 18 and 19, respectively, to serve as full-time missionaries, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve bore testimony that an even greater harvest will be achieved.
He spoke of when the eligible mission age was changed from 20-year-old to 19 for young men. The first 19-year-old proved an effective missionary in the same mission where he served, the British Mission. That young man was Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, now of the Quorum of the Twelve.
Those in the rising generation are better prepared to serve and more well-versed in their knowledge of the gospel than those in previous generations. However, he warned that much of the world is not friendly to righteousness.
He quoted Alma the Younger who asked the people of his day, “... if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?'“ (Alma 5:26).
He encouraged members who are in ”a spiritual drought... are angry, hurt or disillusioned,“ to evaluate what is holding them back. While uninvolved with major sins or transgressions, these members have allowed other influences to pull them away from feeling a change of heart. However, he emphasized that any who have made these choices can repent.
”Immersion in the scriptures is essential for spiritual nourishment. The word of God inspires commitment and acts as a healing balm for hurt feelings, anger or disillusionment. When our commitment is diminished for any reason, part of the solution is repentance. Commitment and repentance are closely intertwined,“ he said.
He focused on two widespread sets of challenges that often reduce faith and commitment to the gospel. ”The first is unkindness, violence and domestic abuse. The second is sexual immorality and impure thoughts. These often precede and are at the root of the choice to be less committed,“ Elder Cook said.
”Violence, abuse, lack of civility, and disrespect in the home are not acceptable—not acceptable for adults, and not acceptable for the rising generation.“
Regardless of social customs or whether or not one was abused in the past, he said ”we must not physically, emotionally or verbally abuse anyone else.“
Sexual immorality and impure thoughts are in direct opposition to the Savior's teachings, he said. ”We were warned at the beginning of this dispensation that sexual immorality would be perhaps the greatest challenge. Such conduct will, without repentance, cause a spiritual drought and loss of commitment.“
Elder Cook testified, ”As we all live the principles the Savior taught and prepare to meet God, we win a much more important race. We will have the Holy Ghost as our guide for spiritual direction. For any whose lives are not in order, remember, it is never too late to make the Savior's Atonement the foundation of our faith and lives.“