“The Lord calls men when they are busiest, Lucifer calls men when they’re not.”

Ron J. Whitehead Poems for the Pulpit

Our Memory Bank

“Our Savior emphasized the importance of sexual purity when he taught that it was sinful for a man to look upon a woman to lust after her. That teaching leads me to say a few words about the kind of material we read and the kinds of movies and television we view. We are surrounded by the promotional literature of illicit sexual relations on the printed page and on the screen. For your own good, avoid it.

Pornographic or erotic stories and pictures are worse than filthy or polluted food. The body has defenses to rid itself of unwholesome food. With a few fatal exceptions, bad food will only make you sick, but will do no permanent harm. In contrast, a person who feasts upon filthy stories, or pornographic or erotic pictures and literature, records them in this marvelous retrieval system we call a brain. The brain won’t forget this filth. Once recorded it will always remain subject to recall, flashing its perverted images across your mind and drawing you away from the wholesome things in life.”

Brigham Young University President Dallin H. Oaks, from President’s Assembly speech, September 6, 1973

Pride—The “Parent Sin”

“The Savior said: “… he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matt. 23:11.) I think he said that, in part, to help us avoid what some have come to call the “great sin.” C. S. Lewis wrote that in his opinion, pride is the “parent sin”—out of it comes all others. He went on to say that he who thinks he is not conceited is very conceited indeed. It is so easy for us to become self-centered and egocentric, and to believe that the world revolves around us. We are concerned about how we can get what we wish from life, rather than what we can do to serve others.

More than 60 times in the Book of Mormon, in a cyclical way, we read about what happened to people as a result of pride. The Savior must have felt that to be a very important message. It is so easy to fall into the sin of pride.”

Joe J. Christensen, associate commissioner for Seminaries and Institutes (from a talk given at Brigham Young University)

The Gospel and a Sense of Humor, Too

Elder Matthew Cowley tells how President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., called him to be mission president in New Zealand. His final instruction was “Now, kid” [he calls me kid] “now, kid, don’t forget rule six.”

“What is rule six?”

“Don’t take yourself too darn seriously.”

“What are the other five rules?”

“There aren’t any,” answered President Clark.

We can take things seriously that we are not solemn about. By the same token, solemnity does not necessarily mean that we are taking the gospel seriously; we are taking ourselves seriously.

There are indications in Church history that Joseph Smith, careful to refrain from lightmindedness as he was, still enjoyed joking with other Church leaders.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not grim; surely the Lord intended for us to enjoy ourselves even in Church meetings. Perhaps the secret lies in another statement by Elder Cowley: “I like to get fun out of this business—good, wholesome fun—get a kick out of it. When I obey the principles of the Gospel, I am the happiest man on earth.”

Perhaps this is what the Lord means by “… men are that they might have joy” (2 Ne. 2:25)—to take the principles of the gospel seriously without taking ourselves too seriously. On the way to exaltation, we ought to enjoy ourselves.

John E. Lewis, Orem Third Ward, Orem Utah West Stake

The Worth of Fathers

All fathers can’t be great fishermen, or auto mechanics, or singers, or champion ball players. But more important, no one expects them to be. The point to remember is that every father—every parent—has certain abilities which can bring family success, abilities which can be multiplied with love, patience, and understanding.

One father may understand and relate well to his ten-year-old son but have great difficulty with his five-year-old child. That does not mean he is a failure as a father, only that he has greater ability in dealing with one age group than another. One father may find it easy to read a story to his child, while another is more comfortable playing a game. But neither one is a poor parent because he has limitations. In the eyes of children, the worth of a father is measured in terms of love, not in degree of ability.

J. Spencer Kinard, “The Spoken Word,” June 17, 1973