Eternal Marriage Student Manual, (2003), 21–30

A beginning is a secure marriage, where there is a commitment to make the personal adjustments to live together forever.

—President Spencer W. Kimball

Selected Teachings

President Spencer W. Kimball

“A beginning [to influencing our children for good] is a secure marriage, where there is a commitment to make the personal adjustments to live together forever” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1974, 161; or Ensign, Nov. 1974, 112).

President Howard W. Hunter

“Please permit me to close by stressing one place in society where that strength and commitment must be shown if we are to survive as a nation, as a people, or even as a fully successful church. We simply must have love and integrity and strong principles in our homes. We must have an abiding commitment to marriage and children and morality. We must succeed where success counts most for the next generation” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1990, 77; or Ensign, May 1990, 61).

President James E. Faust

“Spiritual peace is not to be found in race or culture or nationality but rather through our commitment to God and to the covenants and ordinances of the gospel” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 83; or Ensign, May 1995, 63).

Elder James E. Faust

“I wonder if it is possible for one marriage partner to jettison the other and become completely whole. Either partner who diminishes the divine role of the other in the presence of the children demeans the budding femininity within the daughters and the emerging manhood of the sons. I suppose there are always some honest differences between husband and wife, but let them be settled in private.

“The importance of this subject emboldens me to say a word about covenant breaking. It must be recognized that some marriages just fail. To those in that circumstance, I extend understanding because every divorce carries heartache with it. I hope what I say will not be disturbing. In my opinion, any promise between a man and a woman incident to a marriage ceremony rises to the dignity of a covenant. The family relationship of father, mother, and child is the oldest and most enduring institution in the world. It has survived vast differences of geography and culture. This is because marriage between man and woman is a natural state and is ordained of God. It is a moral imperative. Those marriages performed in our temples, meant to be eternal relationships, then, become the most sacred covenants we can make. The sealing power given by God through Elijah is thus invoked, and God becomes a party to the promises.

“What, then, might be ‘just cause’ for breaking the covenants of marriage? Over a lifetime of dealing with human problems, I have struggled to understand what might be considered ‘just cause’ for breaking of covenants. I confess I do not claim the wisdom or authority to definitively state what is ‘just cause.’ Only the parties to the marriage can determine this. They must bear the responsibility for the train of consequences which inevitably follows if these covenants are not honored. In my opinion, ‘just cause’ should be nothing less serious than a prolonged and apparently irredeemable relationship which is destructive of a person’s dignity as a human being.

“At the same time, I have strong feelings about what is not provocation for breaking the sacred covenants of marriage. Surely it is not simply ‘mental distress’ or ‘personality differences’ or having ‘grown apart’ or having ‘fallen out of love.’ This is especially so where there are children. Enduring divine counsel comes from Paul:

“‘Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it’ (Ephesians 5:25).

“‘That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, [and] to love their children’ (Titus 2:4).

“In my opinion, members of the Church have the most effective cure for our decaying family life. It is for men, women, and children to honor and respect the divine roles of both fathers and mothers in the home. In so doing, mutual respect and appreciation among the members of the Church will be fostered by the righteousness found there. In this way the great sealing keys restored by Elijah, spoken of by Malachi, might operate ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse’ (D&C 110:15; see also Malachi 4:6)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1993, 46–47; or Ensign, May 1993, 36–37).

Elder Russell M. Nelson

“Keeping the garden of marriage well cultivated and free from weeds of neglect requires the time and commitment of love. It is not only a pleasant privilege, it is a scriptural requirement with promise of eternal glory” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1991, 28; or Ensign, May 1991, 23).

Elder Joe J. Christensen

Keep your courtship alive. Make time to do things together—just the two of you. As important as it is to be with the children as a family, you need regular weekly time alone together. Scheduling it will let your children know that you feel that your marriage is so important that you need to nurture it. That takes commitment, planning, and scheduling” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 86; or Ensign, May 1995, 65).

Sister Ardeth G. Kapp

“It is our faith in the importance of making covenants with God and coming to understand our immense possibilities that the temple, the house of the Lord, becomes the focus for all that really matters. In the temple we participate in ordinances and covenants that span the distance between heaven and earth. They prepare us to one day return to God’s presence and enjoy the blessings of eternal families and eternal life.

“I have heard young women around the world repeat in many languages their commitment: ‘We will be prepared to make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation’ (Young Women Handbook, p. 3). Those blessings can be available to all of us—to all our Father’s children. When our faith is centered in Jesus Christ, our Savior, we begin to understand our identity and our tender relationship to Him. …

“It is through the ordinances and covenants available in the temple that our Father in Heaven has provided the way for us to return to Him rejoicing. To these eternal truths I bear my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, amen” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 110–11; or Ensign, May 1992, 79).

Our Solemn Responsibilities

President Gordon B. Hinckley

President Gordon B. Hinckley

First Counselor in the First Presidency

In Conference Report, Oct. 1991, 68–73; or Ensign, Nov. 1991, 49–52 (priesthood session)

Brethren, we have had an excellent meeting. Much has been spoken worthy of remembrance and application in our lives. I endorse and commend to you what the Brethren have said. I hope that every man and boy, wherever you may be, may leave this meeting tonight with a greater desire and a stronger resolution to live more worthy of the divine priesthood which each of us holds. …

Experience with Sorrow

… during these ten years that I have served in the Presidency, I have also experienced much of sorrow. It is out of this experience that I wish to speak a little further. For a full decade now I have participated in the task of sitting in judgment on the worthiness of those who plead to come back into the Church after having been excommunicated. In every case there had been a serious violation of Church standards of conduct. In most cases there had been adultery, and in the majority of cases, husbands were the offenders. Disciplinary action had been taken against them. As months passed they longed for what they previously had. A spirit of repentance came into their hearts.

As one of these men said to me, “I really never understood nor appreciated the gift of the Holy Ghost until it was taken from me.”

Unhappiness of Women

I have spoken on three or four occasions to the women of the Church during the past ten years. I have received in response to these various talks a substantial number of letters. I have kept some of them in a file marked “Unhappy Women.”

These letters have come from many areas. But they are all written in the same tone. I wish to read you a portion of one of them which was received only last week. The writer has granted me permission to do so. I will not disclose any names.

Said she: “I met my husband when he was a freshman. He was from a very active family with many years of service in the Church. He was so enthused about serving a mission. I thought we shared the gospel as our most important value in this life. We both enjoyed music and nature and had a high priority on gaining knowledge. We dated a few months, easily fell in love, and wrote to one another while he served an honorable mission. When he came back home, he got back into school and we were married in the Salt Lake Temple. We followed the counsel of Church leaders and began our family. I had been attending [the university] on an Honors at Entrance scholarship, but I became pregnant and sick and left school to devote my time and energy to my husband and infant son.

“For the next eighteen years I supported my husband while he finished school, got some work experience, and started his own business. We both served in leadership positions in the Church and community. We had five wonderful children. I taught the children the gospel, how to work, how to serve, how to communicate, and how to play the piano. I baked bread; canned peaches, apples, tomatoes; sewed dresses and quilts; cleaned house; and tended my flowers and vegetables. In many ways it seemed that we were an ideal family. Our relationship was sometimes sweet and sometimes difficult. Things were never perfect because I am not a perfect woman and he is not a perfect man, but many things were good. I did not expect perfection; I just kept trying.

“Then came the crash. About a year ago he decided that he never loved me and that our marriage was a mistake from the beginning. He was convinced that there was nothing in our relationship for him. He filed for divorce and moved out. ‘Wait,’ I kept saying. ‘Oh, no. Stop! Don’t do this. Why are you leaving? What is wrong? Please, talk to me. Look at our children. What of all our dreams? Remember our covenants. No, no! Divorce is not the answer.’ He would not hear me. I thought I would die.

“Now I am a single parent. What an enormous load of heartache, pain, and loneliness is behind that statement. It explains so much trauma and so much anger from my teenage sons. It explains so many tears from my little girls. It explains so many sleepless nights, so many family demands and needs. Why am I in this mess? What did I choose wrong? How will I ever get through school? How will I get through this week? Where is my husband? Where is the father of my children? I join the ranks of tired women whose husbands leave them. I have no money, no job. I have children to care for, bills to pay, and not much hope.”

I do not know if her former husband may be in this audience somewhere. If he is listening, I may receive from him a letter justifying what he has done. I know there are two sides to every issue. But somehow, I cannot understand how a man who holds the holy priesthood and who has entered into sacred and binding covenants before the Lord could justify abandoning his responsibilities for his wife of eighteen years and the five children who exist because of him and of whose flesh and blood and heritage they have partaken.

The problem is not new. I suppose it is as old as the human race. Certainly it existed among the Nephites. Jacob, brother of Nephi, speaking as a prophet to his people, declared:

“For behold, I, the Lord, have seen the sorrow, and heard the mourning of the daughters of my people in the land of Jerusalem, yea, and in all the lands of my people, because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands.

“… Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you” (Jacob 2:31, 35).

Discipline a Violent Temper

Permit me to read from another letter. Said the writer: “My husband is a good man with many outstanding qualities and character traits, but underneath it all there is a strong streak of authoritarianism. … His volatile temper flares up often enough to remind me of all the potential ugliness of which he is capable.

“President Hinckley, … please remind the brethren that the physical and verbal abuse of women is inexcusable, never acceptable, and a cowardly way of dealing with differences, especially and particularly despicable if the abuser is a priesthood holder.”

Now, I believe that most marriages in the Church are happy, that both husbands and wives in those marriages experience a sense of security and love, of mutual dependence, and an equal sharing of burdens. I am confident that the children in those homes, at least in the vast majority of them, are growing up with a sense of peace and security, knowing that they are appreciated and loved by both of their parents, who, they feel, love one another. But I am confident, my brethren, that there is enough of the opposite to justify what I am saying.

Who can calculate the wounds inflicted, their depth and pain, by harsh and mean words spoken in anger? How pitiful a sight is a man who is strong in many ways but who loses all control of himself when some little thing, usually of no significant consequence, disturbs his equanimity. In every marriage there are, of course, occasional differences. But I find no justification for tempers that explode on the slightest provocation.

Said the writer of Proverbs, “Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous” (Proverbs 27:4).

A violent temper is such a terrible, corrosive thing. And the tragedy is that it accomplishes no good; it only feeds evil with resentment and rebellion and pain. To any man or boy within the sound of my voice who has trouble controlling his tongue, may I suggest that you plead with the Lord for the strength to overcome your weakness, that you apologize to those you have offended, and that you marshal within yourselves the power to discipline your tongue.

To the boys who are here, may I suggest that you watch your temper now, in these formative years of your life. As Brother [David B.] Haight has reminded you, this is the season to develop the power and capacity to discipline yourselves. You may think it is the macho thing to flare up in anger and swear and profane the name of the Lord. It is not the macho thing. It is an indication of weakness. Anger is not an expression of strength. It is an indication of one’s inability to control his thoughts, words, his emotions. Of course it is easy to get angry. When the weakness of anger takes over, the strength of reason leaves. Cultivate within yourselves the mighty power of self-discipline.

Sacredness of Marriage Covenants

Now I move to another corrosive element that afflicts all too many marriages. It is interesting to me that two of the Ten Commandments deal with this: “Thou shalt not commit adultery” and “Thou shalt not covet” (Exodus 20:14, 17). Ted Koppel, moderator of ABC’s “Nightline” program, is reported as saying the following to a group of students at Duke University concerning slogans that were proposed to reduce drugs and immorality:

“We have actually convinced ourselves that slogans will save us. … But the answer is NO! Not because it isn’t cool or smart or because you might end up in jail or dying in an AIDS ward, but NO because it is wrong, because we have spent 5,000 years as a race of rational human beings, trying to drag ourselves out of the primeval slime by searching for truth and moral absolutes. In its purest form, truth is not a polite tap on the shoulder. It is a howling reproach. What Moses brought down from Mount Sinai were not The Ten Suggestions” (address given at Duke University, 10 May 1987).

Think about that for a moment. What Moses brought down were Ten Commandments, written by the finger of Jehovah on tablets of stone for the salvation and safety, for the security and happiness of the children of Israel and for all of the generations which were to come after them.

Altogether too many men, leaving their wives at home in the morning and going to work, where they find attractively dressed and attractively made-up young women, regard themselves as young and handsome and as an irresistible catch. They complain that their wives do not look the same as they did twenty years ago when they married them. To which I say, “Who would, after living with you for twenty years?”

The tragedy is that some men are ensnared by their own foolishness and their own weakness. They throw to the wind the most sacred and solemn of covenants, entered into in the house of the Lord and sealed under the authority of the holy priesthood. They set aside their wives who have been faithful, who have loved and cared for them, who have struggled with them in times of poverty only to be discarded in times of affluence. They have left their children fatherless. They have avoided with every kind of artifice the payment of court-mandated alimony and child support.

Do I sound harsh and negative? Yes, I feel that way as I deal with case after case and have done so over a period of time. Wrote Paul, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8). In that same epistle, he said to Timothy, “Keep thyself pure” (1 Timothy 5:22).

Now I recognize that there may be some few cases where conditions of the marriage are totally intolerable. But these cases are in the minority. And even in these cases, where a marriage has been undertaken and children are brought into the world, there is a responsibility, binding and with accountability before God, to provide care for those for whose lives the father is responsible.

The complaint of a husband, after eighteen years of marriage and five children, that he no longer loves his wife is, in my judgment, a feeble excuse for the violation of covenants made before God and also the evasion of the responsibilities that are the very strength of the society of which we are a part. The finding of fault with consequent divorce is usually preceded by a long period in which little mistakes are spoken of in harsh and angry language, where tiny molehills of difference grow into great mountains of conflict. I am satisfied that the more unkindly a wife is treated, the less attractive she becomes. She loses pride in herself. She develops a feeling of worthlessness. Of course it shows.

A husband who domineers his wife, who demeans and humiliates her, and who makes officious demands upon her not only injures her, but he also belittles himself. And in many cases, he plants a pattern of future similar behavior in his sons.

Where a marriage has been undertaken and children are brought into the world, there is a responsibility, binding and with accountability before God.

No Enduring Happiness without Women

My brethren, you who have had conferred upon you the priesthood of God, you know, as I know, that there is no enduring happiness, that there is no lasting peace in the heart, no tranquility in the home without the companionship of a good woman. Our wives are not our inferiors.

Some men who are evidently unable to gain respect by the goodness of their lives use as justification for their actions the statement that Eve was told that Adam should rule over her. How much sadness, how much tragedy, how much heartbreak has been caused through centuries of time by weak men who have used that as a scriptural warrant for atrocious behavior! They do not recognize that the same account indicates that Eve was given as a helpmeet to Adam. The facts are that they stood side by side in the garden. They were expelled from the garden together, and they worked together side by side in gaining their bread by the sweat of their brows.

Now, brethren, I know I have spoken of a minority. But the depth of the tragedy which afflicts that minority, and particularly the victims of that minority, has impelled me to say what I have said. There is an old adage that says, “If the shoe fits, wear it.”

What I have spoken I have said with a desire to be helpful and, in some cases, in the spirit of a rebuke followed by an increase of love toward those whom I may have rebuked.

Beauty of Happy Marriage

How beautiful is the marriage of a young man and a young woman who begin their lives together kneeling at the altar in the house of the Lord, pledging their love and loyalty one to another for time and all eternity. When children come into that home, they are nurtured and cared for, loved and blessed with the feeling that their father loves their mother. In that environment they find peace and strength and security. Watching their father, they develop respect for women. They are taught self-control and self-discipline, which bring the strength to avoid later tragedy.

The years pass. The children eventually leave the home, one by one. And the father and the mother are again alone. But they have each other to talk with, to depend on, to nurture, to encourage, and to bless. There comes the autumn of life and a looking back with satisfaction and gladness. Through all of the years there has been loyalty, one to the other. There has been deference and courtesy. Now there is a certain mellowness, a softening, an effect that partakes of a hallowed relationship. They realize that death may come anytime, usually to one first with a separation of a season brief or lengthy. But they know also that because their companionship was sealed under the authority of the eternal priesthood and they have lived worthy of the blessings, there will be a reunion sweet and certain.

Brethren, this is the way our Father in Heaven would have it. This is the Lord’s way. He has so indicated. His prophets have spoken of it.

It takes effort. It takes self-control. It takes unselfishness. It requires the true essence of love, which is an anxious concern for the well-being and happiness of one’s companion. I could wish nothing better for all of you than this, and I pray that this may be your individual blessing, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Endure and Be Lifted Up

Elder Russell M. Nelson

Elder Russell M. Nelson

Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

In Conference Report, Apr. 1997, 96–101; or Ensign, May 1997, 70–73

Stay “on the Boat”

Early in our married life when Sister Nelson and I lived in Minneapolis, we decided to enjoy a free afternoon with our two-year-old daughter. We went to one of Minnesota’s many beautiful lakes and rented a small boat. After rowing far from shore, we stopped to relax and enjoy the tranquil scene. Suddenly, our little toddler lifted one leg out of the boat and started to go overboard, exclaiming, “Time to get out, Daddy!”

Quickly we caught her and explained, “No, dear, it’s not time to get out; we must stay in the boat until it brings us safely back to land.” Only with considerable persuasion did we succeed in convincing her that leaving the boat early would have led to disaster.

Children are prone to do such dangerous things simply because they have not acquired the wisdom their parents have. Similarly, we as children of our Heavenly Father may foolishly want to get “out of the boat” before we arrive at destinations He would like us to reach. The Lord teaches over and over that we are to endure1 to the end.2 This is a dominant theme of the scriptures. One example may serve to represent many passages that convey a similar message:

“Blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion … , for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb.”3

Blessings bestowed by God are always predicated upon obedience to law.4 Applied to my analogy, we are first to get “on the boat” with Him. Then we are to stay with Him. And if we don’t get “out of the boat” before we should, we shall reach His kingdom, where we will be lifted up to eternal life.

The Lord teaches over and over that we are to endure to the end.

If We Endure, We Will Be Lifted Up

The term lifted up relates to a physical law that can be illustrated by a simple demonstration.5 I will use a spool of thread and blow into the axial hole of the spool. The force of my breath will move a piece of tissue paper away from me. Next I will take an ordinary card and a straight pin. I will place the pin through the card. With the pin in the hole of the spool, I will hold the card close to the spool. I will again blow into the hole of the spool. As I blow, I will let go of the card so that it can respond to physical forces. Before I proceed, would you like to predict what will happen? Will I blow the card away from me, or will the card be lifted up toward me? Are you ready? [Elder Nelson demonstrates that blowing down the axial hole of the spool lifts the card up toward the spool.]

Did you notice? As long as I had sufficient breath, the card was lifted up. But when I could endure no longer, the card fell. When my breath gave out, the opposing force of gravity prevailed. If my energy could have endured, the card would have been lifted up indefinitely.6

Energy is always required to provide lift over opposing forces. These same laws apply in our personal lives. Whenever an undertaking is begun, both the energy and the will to endure are essential. The winner of a five-kilometer race is declared at the end of five kilometers, not at one or two. If you board a bus to Boston, you don’t get off at Burlington. If you want to gain an education, you don’t drop out along the way—just as you don’t pay to dine at an elegant restaurant only to walk away after sampling the salad.

Whatever your work may be, endure at the beginning, endure through opposing forces along the way, and endure to the end. Any job must be completed before you can enjoy the result for which you are working. So wrote the poet:

Stick to your task till it sticks to you;
Beginners are many, but enders are few.
Honor, power, place, and praise
Will [always] come … to the one who stays.
Stick to your task till it sticks to you;
Bend at it, sweat at it, smile at it too;
For out of the bend and the sweat and the smile
Will come life’s victories, after awhile.7

Sometimes the need to endure comes when facing a physical challenge. Anyone afflicted with a serious illness or with the infirmities of age hopes to be able to endure to the end of such trials.8 Most often, intense physical challenges are accompanied by spiritual challenges as well.

To Endure, We Must Be Surely Converted

Think of the early pioneers. What if they had not endured the hardships of their westward migration? There would be no sesquicentennial celebration this year. Steadfastly they endured—through persecution,9 expulsion,10 a governmental order of extermination,11 expropriation of property,12 and much more. Their enduring faith in the Lord provided lift for them as it will for you and for me.

The Lord’s ultimate concern is for the salvation and exaltation of each individual soul. What if the Apostle Paul’s conversion had not been enduring? He never would have testified as he did at the end of his ministry: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”13

What if Jesus had wavered in His commitment to do His Father’s will?14 His Atonement would not have been accomplished. The dead would not be resurrected. The blessings of immortality and eternal life would not be.15 But Jesus did endure. During His final hour, Jesus prayed to His Father, saying, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.”16

Early in His mortal ministry, Jesus became concerned about the commitment of His followers. He had just fed the 5,000,17 then had taught them the doctrines of the kingdom. But some had murmured, “This is an hard saying; who can hear it?”18 Even after He had fed them, many lacked the faith to endure with Him. He turned to the Twelve and said, “Will ye also go away?

“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, … thou hast the words of eternal life.

“And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”19

Peter’s answer defines the real core of commitment. When we know without a doubt that Jesus is the Christ, we will want to stay with Him. When we are surely converted, the power to endure is ours.

Enduring in the Covenant of Marriage

This power to endure is critical in those two most important relationships we enter into in life. One is marriage; the other is membership in the Lord’s Church. These are also unique in that they are both covenant—not contractual—relationships.

Marriage, especially temple marriage, and family ties involve covenant relationships. They cannot be regarded casually. With divorce rates escalating throughout the world today, it is apparent that many spouses are failing to endure to the end of their commitments to each other. And some temple marriages fail because a husband forgets that his highest and most important priesthood duty is to honor and sustain his wife.20 The best thing that a father can do for his children is to “love their mother.”21

President Gordon B. Hinckley made a statement recently that each Latter-day Saint husband should heed: “Magnify your [wife],” he said, “and in so doing you will magnify your priesthood.”22 To his profound advice we might couple the timeless counsel of Paul, who said, “Let every one of you … love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”23 Enduring love provides enduring lift through life’s trials. An enduring marriage results when both husband and wife regard their union as one of the two most important commitments they will ever make.

Enduring in Our Covenants with God

The other commitment of everlasting consequence is to the Lord.24 Unfortunately, some souls make a covenant with God—signified by the sacred ordinance of baptism—without a heartfelt commitment to endure with Him. Baptism is an extremely important ordinance. But it is only initiatory. The supreme benefits of membership in the Church can be realized only through the exalting ordinances of the temple. These blessings qualify us for “thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers”25 in the celestial kingdom.

The Lord can readily discern between those with superficial signs of activity and those who are deeply rooted in His Church. This Jesus taught in the parable of the sower. He observed that some “have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.”26

Loyalty to the Lord carries an obligation of loyalty to those called by the Lord to lead His Church. He has empowered that men be ordained to speak in His holy name.27 As they guide His unsinkable boat safely toward the shore of salvation, we would do well to stay on board with them.28 “No waters can swallow the ship where lies The Master of ocean and earth and skies.”29

Nevertheless, some individuals want to jump “out of the boat” before reaching land. And others, sadly, are persuaded out by companions who insist that they know more about life’s perilous journey than do prophets of the Lord. Problems often arise that are not of your own making. Some of you may innocently find yourselves abandoned by one you trusted. But you will never be forsaken by your Redeemer, who said, “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say.”30

Without a strong commitment to the Lord, an individual is more prone to have a low level of commitment to a spouse. Weak commitments to eternal covenants lead to losses of eternal consequence. Laments later in life are laced with remorse, as expressed in these lines:

For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: “It might have been!”31

We are speaking of the most important of all blessings. The Lord said, “If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.”32

Proper Priorities Help Us Endure

Each of you who really wants to endure to the glorious end that our Heavenly Father has foreseen should firmly establish some personal priorities. With many interests competing for your loyalty, you need to be careful first to stay safely “on the boat.” No one can serve two masters.33 If Satan can get you to love anything—fun, flirtation, fame, or fortune—more than a spouse or the Lord with whom you have made sacred covenants to endure, the adversary begins to triumph. When faced with such temptations, you will find that strength comes from commitments made well in advance. The Lord said, “Settle this in your hearts, that ye will do the things which I shall teach, and command you.”34 He declared through His prophet Jeremiah, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”35

When priorities are proper, the power to endure is increased. And when internalized, those priorities will help keep you from “going overboard.” They will protect you from cheating—in marriage, in the Church, and in life.

If you really want to be like the Lord—more than anything or anyone else—you will remember that your adoration of Jesus is best shown by your emulation of Him. Then you will not allow any other love to become more important than love for your companion, your family, and your Creator. You will govern yourself not by someone else’s set of rules but by revealed principles of truth.

The Lord Will Help Us Endure

Your responsibility to endure is uniquely yours. But you are never alone. I testify that the lifting power of the Lord can be yours if you will “come unto Christ” and “be perfected in him.” You will “deny yourselves of all ungodliness.” And you will “love God with all your might, mind and strength.”36

The living prophet of the Lord has issued a clarion call: “I invite every one of you,” said President Hinckley, “to stand on your feet and with a song in your heart move forward, living the gospel, loving the Lord, and building the kingdom. Together we shall stay the course and keep the faith.”37

I pray that each of us may so endure and be lifted up at the last day, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


  •   1.

    The word endure comes from two Latin roots. The prefix en means “within.” The remainder comes from the verb durare, which means “to be firm or solid.” Thus, to endure means “to become firm within yourself.” That meaning carries into the original languages of the Bible.

    In the Hebrew language of the Old Testament, the root word ’aman means “to render firm” or “to be faithful, to trust.” It was often translated as “faithful,” but never as “faith” alone. ’Aman meant more than faith. It was not a passive term; it meant “a firm resolve to be faithful.” ’Aman was also the Hebrew root for words that were translated into related terms, such as “verified,” “believe,” “long continuance,” “assurance,” “establish(ed),” “sure,” “trust,” “steadfast,” “stand fast,” and others.

    In the Greek language of the New Testament, the verb hupoméno was used. It means “to remain,” “stay,” or “continue.” Hupo (or hypo) means “under,” as in hypodermic (“under the skin”) or hypothermia (“low temperature”). To endure connotes a commitment within one’s soul.

  •   2.

    See Matthew 24:13; Mark 13:13; 2 Nephi 33:4; Omni 1:26; 3 Nephi 15:9; D&C 14:7; 18:22; 20:29. This promise has been confirmed by both our Father in Heaven and by the Lord Jesus Christ. From the great Elohim, we have this pronouncement: “The words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved” (2 Nephi 31:15). And from the Savior, we have this promise: “Whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, … him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world” (3 Nephi 27:16).

  •   3.

    1 Nephi 13:37; see also Mosiah 23:22; Alma 13:29; 36:3; 37:37; 38:5; 3 Nephi 27:21–22; Ether 4:19; D&C 5:35; 9:14; 17:8; 75:16. For additional emphasis, scriptures teach the negative consequences of disobedience to this commandment. For example, “If they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name, and endure to the end, they must be damned; for the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has spoken it” (2 Nephi 9:24; see also 2 Nephi 31:16; Mormon 9:29).

  •   4.

    See Doctrine and Covenants 130:20–21.

  •   5.

    This demonstration of Bernoulli’s principle in physics was first shown to the author on 17 August 1996 by Elder Norman C. Boehm, then an Area Authority of the Church residing in Sacramento, California.

  •   6.

    The law of lift is at work whenever airplanes fly. It is a “component of the total aerodynamic force acting on an airfoil or on an entire aircraft or winged missile perpendicular to the relative wind and normally exerted in an upward direction, opposing the pull of gravity” (American Heritage Dictionary, 3rd ed. [1992], “lift,” 1040).

  •   7.

    “Stick to Your Task,” in Jack M. Lyon and others, eds., Best-Loved Poems of the LDS People (1996), 255–56.

  •   8.

    In his 95th year, President Joseph Fielding Smith publicly expressed the hope that he would be able “to endure to the end in this life” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1970, 92; or Improvement Era, Dec. 1970, 27). He who served so faithfully and well all of his days provided a model for all of us to follow.

  •   9.

    See Joseph Smith—History 1:20, 22–24, 27, 58, 60–61, 74.

  •   10.

    The pioneers were driven from Ohio to Missouri to Illinois and finally to the valley of the Great Salt Lake.

  •   11.

    The early pioneers were forced out of Missouri under threat of an order signed by Missouri’s governor directing that the “Mormons must be treated as enemies and must be exterminated or driven from the state” (History of the Church, 3:175).

  •   12.

    In 1887, the Congress of the USA took the unprecedented step of eliminating the Church’s legal existence by revoking its corporate charter and authorizing federal receivers to assume ownership of virtually all of the Church’s property and other assets, including its most sacred houses of worship—temples—in Logan, Manti, St. George, and Salt Lake City (see The Late Corporation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. United States, 136 U.S. 1 [1890]).

  •   13.

    2 Timothy 4:7.

  •   14.

    See 3 Nephi 27:13.

  •   15.

    See Moses 1:39.

  •   16.

    John 17:4; italics added. See also John 4:34.

  •   17.

    See Matthew 14:21; 16:9; Mark 6:44; 8:19; Luke 9:14; John 6:10.

  •   18.

    John 6:60.

  •   19.

    John 6:67–69.

  •   20.

    See Doctrine and Covenants 42:22.

  •   21.

    This statement has been made by many leaders of the Church. For example, see Howard W. Hunter, in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 68; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 50; David O. McKay, as quoted by Gordon B. Hinckley, in Conference Report, Oct. 1982, 112; or Ensign, Nov. 1982, 77.

  •   22.

    First session of member fireside conference in Lima, Peru, 9 Nov. 1996.

  •   23.

    Ephesians 5:33.

  •   24.

    In addition, worthy men are privileged to qualify for the oath and covenant of the priesthood, which will bless all men, women, and children whom they serve (see D&C 84:33–48).

  •   25.

    Doctrine and Covenants 132:19.

  •   26.

    Mark 4:17.

  •   27.

    See Doctrine and Covenants 1:38; 21:5; 68:4.

  •   28.

    See Acts 27:30–31; 1 Nephi 18:21–23.

  •   29.

    “Master, the Tempest Is Raging,” Hymns, no. 105.

  •   30.

    Doctrine and Covenants 82:10.

  •   31.

    John Greenleaf Whittier, “Maud Muller,” The Complete Poetical Works of Whittier (1892), 48.

  •   32.

    Doctrine and Covenants 14:7. The Prophet Joseph included this concept of endurance in the thirteenth article of faith: “We have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things.”

  •   33.

    See Matthew 6:24.

  •   34.

    Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 14:28.

  •   35.

    Jeremiah 31:33.

  •   36.

    Moroni 10:32.

  •   37.

    In Conference Report, Oct. 1995, 96; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 72; italics added.