Early in my college days, my father counseled me to take a few practical classes that would help me maintain a home. As a result, I signed up for house wiring and plumbing classes. The courses included both class work and practical in-field experience. We studied methods and materials, national and local codes, design, and installation. We learned how to talk the language of the trades as well as how to use the tools. I learned how to read the manuals and schematic diagrams, how things worked, and how they are put together.
The classes have proved to be of great worth. I’ve been able to do a lot of repairs and maintenance myself. I have been able to see problems early and fix things before they became major disasters. When I couldn’t, I knew who to call and how to communicate with professionals. Knowledge of the plumbing and electrical skills, processes, tools, and standards and the confidence to do the work have been valuable and saved me time and money.
Spiritually speaking, we each need practical gospel knowledge and skills to help us return to our Father in Heaven. We need to be connected to the power of the gospel in our homes to teach and bless each other. We can do this by looking to the gospel of Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven. Just as my father gave me counsel to take some practical classes, our Father in Heaven, through the Holy Ghost, will tell us all things we need to know and do (see 2 Nephi 32:3). Having the skills to receive inspiration is becoming increasingly important in today’s world.
On January 30, 2010, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke to the students at Brigham Young University–Idaho about the last days. He talked about the fulfillment of prophecies and the fallibility of the philosophies of men. A common thread was the admonition for students to strengthen their testimonies in preparation for that which is to come. He said, “I [do not] want … to frighten you but to wake you up.” He continued, “We’re in the last days—you can quote me on that. And it is moving more rapidly.”1
Speaking in the priesthood session of the April 2009 general conference, President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said, “Your generation is filled with uncertainties. A life of fun and games and expensive toys has come to an abrupt end. We move from a generation of ease and entertainment to a generation of hard work and responsibility. We do not know how long that will last. …
“It may seem that the world is in commotion; and it is! It may seem that there are wars and rumors of wars; and there are! It may seem that the future will hold trials and difficulties for you; and it will! However, fear is the opposite of faith. Do not be afraid! I do not fear.”2
To gain courage for what lies ahead, we need to be connected to the gospel of Jesus Christ and overcome the tendency to look to the wisdom of the world for help. Looking to the world rather than the gospel would be like calling a plumber to solve an electrical problem.
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. …
This is not a time to be naive, unprepared, or unaware.
Our Heavenly Father is the Father of our spirits, and Jesus Christ is the Creator of this world. They know and understand us and the world around us better than anyone else. Looking to a higher source for knowledge and power can help us far more than relying on the wisdom of the world. We need to have the Spirit and look to the prophets and our priesthood leaders. We also need to look to the scriptures, which contain God’s words to holy men.
This year the course of study is the New Testament. It contains 27 books and just more than 400 pages, which we can read in a reasonably short time. From the New Testament we learn that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
“That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16–17).
We also learn about the conditions of our day:
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
“Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
“Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
“For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lust” (2 Timothy 3:1–6).
Elder Ballard said, “We’ve got to be so solidly anchored in our testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ that, regardless of what may come next, we will not waffle; we will stand firm in our belief; we won’t question the doctrines that are part of our belief.”3
We can find wisdom just as Joseph Smith did:
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).
In my class on house wiring, I learned the importance of having a good connection to the power lines of the community. If I tried to connect to my neighbor’s house, I would only get limited power. I also learned that if there was any corrosion on the connections or impurities in the wire, the power would be restricted.
Our spiritual connections need to be made directly to the power source and be corrosion free. We need to live worthy to have the power flow to and through us. We need to be spiritually connected to the right source and have the knowledge and ability to use the power we receive. We can develop our knowledge and ability as we study the scriptures, follow our priesthood leaders, and become anchored in our testimonies of the gospel. If we do so, we will not be led astray.