Latter-day Counsel


[illustration] The Lord Jesus Christ, by Del Parson

[illustration] Illustrated by Keith Larson

Safety, Peace, Joy, and Security in Christ

“My testimony to you is that the safety, peace, joy, and security we seek are found only in accepting and sincerely believing in the life and mission of Jesus Christ, the Son of Almighty God. As we embrace His teachings, we give up all of our sins, we repent, and we do all that is in our power to come unto Him in a true spirit of discipleship, knowing perfectly well that it is through His grace that we are saved, even after all that we can do. And as we give ourselves to Christ, fully and completely, we find safety, peace, joy, and security in Him.

“Does that mean we will not have turmoil or personal problems, sickness, family challenges, or employment difficulties? … Not at all. But it does mean that if our faith is anchored securely in our testimonies of Christ, we will be able to cope with whatever challenge or adversity comes our way, and we will be able to do so in a positive, faith-promoting manner. If we keep our lives focused on Christ, we will gain a broader view, an eternal perspective. With that we can understand adversity and what is the right thing for us to do … within the context of Heavenly Father’s eternal plan for all of His children. And we can find comfort in this life in the eternal safety, peace, joy, and security that He promises.”

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “That We Might Know,” devotional address, BYU—Hawaii, 25 Jan. 2001.

Live with Integrity

“Difficulty in life begins when small deviations from true standards are made to justify a quick move to a greater accomplishment. That pattern does not work in life. Strength comes from making no exceptions to foundation principles. Without such guidelines, an individual lives for the moment, making decisions according to current circumstances. Such an individual is doomed to violate eternal truths and lose by rationalization many of the marvelous opportunities of life with their resultant greater achievement and happiness. …

“… Real success is not centered in wealth or position. Should one’s prime interest be focused there, the means then become the end. That pattern is generally accompanied by an insatiable desire for more things and more power. True success comes from fulfilling the conditions of the Lord’s plan of happiness, beginning, when possible, by being a good mother or father and by forming a solid eternal family. It includes serving honorably and in a trustworthy way. It results in producing something of lasting benefit. In short, when your actions are consistent with the teachings of the Lord, that is success. …

“… Avoid compartmentalizing your life into segments that apply to profession, to Church, and to family, using different standards in each segment. Your life is a continuum where the same standards of integrity and hard work apply to every aspect of your life. …

“… Always have a Church assignment. Always. Don’t ask for specific callings, but ask to be used so that you can be constantly connected to the reality of eternal truth. That effort will keep your life in balance.”

Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Brigham Young University commencement, 10 Aug. 2000.

He Assists without Abrogating Agency

“When one receives a prompting regarding a question asked in prayer or a feeling of love for other people or a confirming feeling during a person’s testimony, one should recognize that the Holy Ghost is at work. In addition, since the Holy Spirit represents the Savior, one should also recognize the ultimate source: the Redeemer of the world.

“Have you ever thought of the many roles played by the Holy Ghost in our lives? He is a cleanser, a guide, a teacher, a justifier, a healer, a witness, a comforter, a quickener, a revelator, a sealer, and a sanctifier. He is the key. He knows when we are obedient. He knows how to comfort us when in need; he knows how to assist without abrogating agency.”

Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Seventy, “Christ Is the Reason,” devotional address, Brigham Young University, 16 Jan. 2001.

Making Righteous Choices

“Why are so many resolutions made and so few kept? The answer is simple: it is hard to break bad habits. A bad habit is a false tradition. Bad habits or false traditions are difficult to change. It takes real determination and resolve to make the change. Remember that our behavior is a result of years of decision making and that those decisions, however small, determine our habits and our traditions.

“Life is all about making choices. We cannot avoid it. We make them consciously or seemingly unconsciously all day long. When we make our choices, we always support one of two possible options. We are either obedient to true principles and choose that course of action, or we choose disobedience and live false traditions. Those are the two options. I define this process of making choices as the ‘principle of responsibility.’ We are all ultimately responsible for the choices we make.”

Elder Richard J. Maynes of the Seventy, “The Choices We Make,” devotional address, LDS Business College, 10 Jan. 2001.

Helping Our Children Remember

“As our hearts turn to our fathers in family history and temple ordinances, so our hearts must also be turned to our children in building their memories. Prayers, teachings, companionship, acts of love and concern, family observances, journals—all these, along with the work for the dead, will link our children to ourselves, to their progenitors, and to the family of Adam. They will know who they are, and they will be edified by that understanding, that remembrance.”

Elder Robert S. Wood of the Seventy, “By Way of Remembrance.”

An Interfaith View of the Family

“The family has no beginning, no end. In the family reside the deeds of the past, the breath of the present, and the yearning of the future. The family is the constant of the human universe—it is like the sky, something that has been and will always be. …

“… Our capacity to overcome obstacles is strengthened by the realization that we labor for something greater than the alpha and omega of our individual existence. I have learned that what I do today is not only for me, but it also shapes the future.

“People say to remember the past. But it is equally important to remember and then protect the future by the quality of what you do today. …

“… If you can honor those who have gone before and respect the potential of those yet to come, how much more should you love and nurture those who reside with you in the here and now? …

“The family is the initial ‘center of learning’ attended by each of us. The question is not whether we learn within the familial context but what we learn. Is it enough of the right stuff, too much of the wrong, or not enough of anything? The formative experience can either be good or bad. If good, the family tree flourishes, and the individual, his community, and his nation benefit. If instruction is toxic, the tree is blighted, and the individual and society suffer. …

“… We spend precious little time understanding each other. Too many families are strangers residing under one roof. The Internet and other devices offer virtual reality, virtual affection, and virtual fulfillment. All these claims are virtually untrue. Technology is a friend, but this friend has placed some unintended heavy pressure on us.

“In this vastly developed society, we are in danger of being drowned by the amenities intended to benefit us. Our ancestors worked in order to survive, to eat and drink. We would do well to learn a few lessons from them. First and foremost is to cherish each other. …

“… The family is both marathon and relay race. It is like a marathon in that the distance is vast. From where we are, we see neither the starting line nor the finish line. It is like a relay in that we inherit the baton from a family member, only to bequeath it to another member after our paces have been run.

“We must be prudent stewards of that baton, for it is the connection between our ancestors and our progeny. Your affinity for the past and future should intensify your love for family members of the present.”

George W. Haley, U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Gambia, “Roots—the Challenge,” address given at the Oakland California Stake Center, 13 May 2000.