Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice: Courage Counts


Thomas S. Monson
From an October 1986 general conference address.

Courage Counts

President Monson explains why we need courage and where we can find it.

Life’s journey is not traveled on a freeway devoid [free] of obstacles, pitfalls, and snares. Rather, it is a pathway marked by forks and turnings. Decisions are constantly before us. To make them wisely, courage is needed.

The prophet Daniel demonstrated courage by standing up for what he knew to be right and by demonstrating the courage to pray, though threatened by death were he to do so (see Dan. 6).

Courage characterized the life of Abinadi, as shown in the Book of Mormon by his willingness to offer his life rather than to deny the truth (see Mosiah 11:20; Mosiah 17:20).

Who can help but be inspired by the lives of the two thousand stripling sons of Helaman, who taught and demonstrated the need of courage to follow the teachings of parents? (see Alma 56).

All were fortified [strengthened] by the words of Moses: “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid … : for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Deut. 31:6). He did not fail them. He will not fail us. He did not forsake them. He will not forsake us.

It is this sweet assurance that can guide you and me. Of course we will face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us have the courage to stand for principle [what is right]. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. A moral coward is one who is afraid to do what he thinks is right because others will disapprove or laugh. Remember that all men have their fears, but those who face their fears with dignity have courage as well.

Entering the United States Navy in the closing months of World War II was a challenging experience for me. I learned of brave deeds and examples of courage. One best remembered was the quiet courage of an eighteen-year-old seaman—not of our faith—who was not too proud to pray. Of 250 men in the company, he was the only one who each night knelt down by the side of his bunk, at times amidst the jeers of the curious and the jests of unbelievers, and, with bowed head, prayed to God. He never wavered. He never faltered. He had courage.

May we muster courage for the conflicts, courage to say no, courage to say yes, for courage counts.

[illustration] Illustrated by Robert McKay