Some of the sweetest memories of my childhood center in the occasional summer and fall days spent with my brothers at Uncle Zene’s farm in rural Virginia. There we hiked through woods with fragrant wildflowers. We marveled at flying squirrels, colorful birds, and even occasionally discovered a pheasant or a fox. Meandering streams invited us to catch sunfish, and a cool, pure spring satisfied our thirst. There were roasted hot dogs, potato salad, sweet pickles, and, of course, hot apple pie with homemade ice cream.
But the most treasured experience was the rope swing Uncle Zene had hung in a tall tree near a beautiful brook. Its long, gliding passes provided hours of pure joy. We would arch our backs and fling our legs and feet to see who could go the fastest and highest. It was sheer delight.
Once, to treat me to even more excitement, my brother Gerald put me on the wooden seat, then rotated the swing until the ropes were twisted in a double row of knots. With a mighty thrust he launched me into a spin of ever-increasing velocity. At first there was a feeling of exhilaration as I began to pick up speed. That short-lived pleasure was quickly replaced by increasing feelings of dizziness, nausea, and just plain terror. When the horrible experience was over, I couldn’t walk without falling. My head reeled, and I was certain that my stomach would never again be the same.
I wonder if some of you are doing the same thing in your own life. Instead of enjoying countless wonderful experiences, wholesome relationships, and the beauties of the earth, do you pursue excitement beyond the bounds Heavenly Father has set?
He has given us commandments. They guide our lives to happiness. He also gave us agency, which allows us to choose among alternate paths. Whichever path we choose, we are bound to the consequence God has decreed.
Heavenly Father wants you to succeed. Where there is purity of heart and real intent, it is known by Him. Your obedience to truth and proper use of agency open the door to His divine help. If you have chosen the wrong path, the only way out is through repentance.
I testify that as you choose to obey truth and use your agency to keep His commandments, you will be blessed.