Special Witness: Addiction or Freedom


Russell M. Nelson

Addiction or Freedom

Did you know that Elder Russell M. Nelson likes music and skiing? He is a medical doctor and has often talked to us about taking care of our bodies:

I raise my voice with others throughout the world who warn against abuse of drugs. …

Tobacco and alcoholic beverages contain addicting drugs. They lead the list in [use] and cost to society. …

Consider … tobacco’s harm. Cigarette smoking is the most frequent preventable cause of heart disease, artery disease, lung disease, and cancer. …

There is mounting concern worldwide over the [use] of alcohol. The United States government estimates that [millions of] adults are alcoholics and that one family in four is troubled by alcohol. It is a factor in half of all the nation’s traffic deaths.

[In 1987], a tragic milestone was reached. More Americans had been killed from alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents (1,350,000) than had been killed in all the wars America has ever fought (1,156,000).

Drugs such as LSD, marijuana, heroin, and cocaine are also endangering people throughout the earth. …

The solution to this problem … is neither governmental nor institutional. Nor is it a question of legality [rules of law]. It is a matter of individual choice and commitment. …

Agency, or the power to choose, was ours as spirit children of our Creator before the world was (see Alma 13:3, Moses 4:4). It is a gift from God, nearly as precious as life itself. …

We are free to take drugs or not. But once we choose to use a habit-forming drug, we are bound to the consequences of that choice. …

Believe in God. Accept yourself as His child, created in His image. He loves you and wants you to be happy. He wants you to grow through life’s choices and become more like Him. …

Renew covenants made at baptism by worthily partaking of the sacrament regularly, “that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world” (D&C 59:9).

Then “be meek and lowly in heart. … Withstand every temptation of the devil, with … faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Alma 37:33.) …

Strength comes from uplifting music, good books, and feasting from the scriptures. Since the Book of Mormon was to come forth “when there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth” (Morm. 8:31), study of that book in particular will [strengthen] us. …

The Lord has revealed His sacred standard to guide people in a troubled world. You and I were born free to follow His divine guidance. We may choose for ourselves. Those choices may bring addiction or freedom. For freedom and joy, choose to “be faithful in Christ.” He will lift you up. (Ensign, November 1988, pages 6–9.)

[illustration] Illustrated by Mark Robison. Lightning and clouds photos by Digital Stock