More than 20 years ago, I completed my service as a mission president in South America. My wife, Rhonda, and I have seen great triumph as well as heartbreaking tragedy in the lives of our missionaries during those intervening 20 years.
What has made the difference in the lives of our former missionaries? What might some of them have done differently to avoid personal tragedy? What about you? Where will you be in 20 years? What decisions and commitments do you need to make now and in the future to help you remain faithful?
I suggest 10 principles that will help you.
- Continually nourish your testimony. That nourishment comes from personal prayer, daily scripture study—particularly the Book of Mormon—and serving in the Church throughout our life.
- Follow the counsel of living prophets and apostles. The prophetic counsel found in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” can help you have a happy marriage, a faithful family, and a successful life.
- Be sealed in the temple and keep your covenants. As a consecrated son or daughter of God, you have covenanted to come to earth at this time to build up God’s kingdom. That kingdom-building includes your own temple marriage.
- Partner with God in bringing His spirit children to earth. Share the right to birth with as many spirit sons and daughters as God is prepared to send to your home.
- Do not indulge in pornography or other immoral behavior. Complete fidelity means being physically faithful as well as emotionally faithful to your spouse.
- Teach and live the gospel in your home. Young married couples are in a position to start their own righteous family traditions—holding daily family scripture study, having family prayer, and preparing their children for missions and temple marriage.
- Honor the roles of father and mother in raising children. Equal partners are to be equal partners. Counsel together and pray together. Be guided by the Spirit to know the most effective way to raise your children together.
- Use your moral agency to choose to follow the Savior. You’re free to choose; however, eternal consequences flow from your choices.
- Develop faith to endure to the end. Your faith to endure will determine your destiny, even your eternal destiny.
- Submit your will to the will of God. Your agency is the one thing that is truly yours that you can give as an offering to God. By volunteering your will to His will, you can become like Him.