I recall a very troubling conversation I had years ago with a young man in a South American airport, where we were both delayed by late planes.
His hair was long and his face bearded, his glasses large and round. Sandals were on his feet, and his clothing such as to give the appearance of total indifference to any standard of style.
He was earnest and evidently sincere. He was educated and thoughtful, a graduate of a great North American university. Without employment and sustained by his father, he was traveling through South America.
What was he after in life? I asked. “Peace—and freedom” was his immediate response. Did he use drugs? Yes, they were one of his means to obtain the peace and freedom he sought. Discussion of drugs led to discussion of morals. He talked matter-of-factly about the new morality that gave so much more freedom than any previous generation had ever known.
He had learned in our opening introductions that I was a churchman; and he let me know, in something of a condescending way, that the morality of my generation was a joke. Then with earnestness he asked how I could honestly defend personal virtue and moral chastity. I shocked him a little when I declared that his freedom was a delusion, that his peace was a fraud, and that I would tell him why. …
Can there be peace in the heart of any person, can there be freedom in the life of one who has been left only misery as the bitter fruit of indulgence?
Can anything be more false or dishonest than gratification of passion without acceptance of responsibility? …
No family can have peace, no life can be free from the storms of adversity unless that family and that home are built on foundations of morality, fidelity, and mutual respect. There cannot be peace where there is not trust; there cannot be freedom where there is not loyalty. The warm sunlight of love will not rise out of a swamp of immorality. …
Is there a valid case for virtue in our world? It is the only way to freedom from regret. The peace of conscience which flows therefrom is the only personal peace that is not counterfeit.1
We are people of peace. We are followers of the Christ who was and is the Prince of Peace. But there are times when we must stand up for right and decency, for freedom and civilization, just as Moroni rallied his people in his day to the defense of their wives, their children, and the cause of liberty (see Alma 48:10). …
We must do our duty, whatever that duty might be. Peace may be denied for a season. Some of our liberties may be curtailed. We may be inconvenienced. We may even be called on to suffer in one way or another. But God our Eternal Father will watch over this nation and all … who look to Him. He has declared, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Ps. 33:12). Our safety lies in repentance. Our strength comes of obedience to the commandments of God. …
Are these perilous times? They are. But there is no need to fear. We can have peace in our hearts and peace in our homes. We can be an influence for good in this world, every one of us.2
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the only element that will destroy the hatred that exists among people. If they will bring this gospel into their lives and recognize the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man and the effects of the Atonement of Christ, there will be a far greater measure of peace in the world. We will not have peace until that happens more generally. That is why you and I are here, brothers and sisters. That is the objective of our work—to teach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and touch the hearts of people so that they can look upon one another as brothers and sisters, as children of our Father in Heaven.3
The pain of death is swallowed up in the peace of eternal life. …
Whenever the cold hand of death strikes, there shines through the gloom and the darkness of that hour the triumphant figure of the Lord Jesus Christ, He, the Son of God, who by His matchless and eternal power overcame death. He is the Redeemer of the world. He gave His life for each of us. He took it up again and became the firstfruits of them that slept. He, as King of kings, stands triumphant above all other kings. He, as the Omnipotent One, stands above all rulers. He is our comfort, our only true comfort, when the dark shroud of earthly night closes about us as the spirit departs the human form.
Towering above all mankind stands Jesus the Christ, the King of glory, the unblemished Messiah, the Lord Emmanuel. In the hour of deepest sorrow we draw hope and peace and certitude from the words of the angel that Easter morning, “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said” (Matt. 28:6). We draw strength from the words of Paul, “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ … all [are] made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22). … 4
Take advantage of the blessings of the house of the Lord. What a privilege. Every man or woman who goes to the temple comes out of that building a better man or woman than he or she was when entering into it. That’s something that’s remarkable that happens with all of us. Is life filled with cares for you? Do you have problems and concerns and worries? Do you want for peace in your heart and an opportunity to commune with the Lord and meditate upon His way? Go to the house of the Lord and there feel of His Spirit and commune with Him and you will know a peace that you will find nowhere else. Take advantage of it. What a great and wonderful blessing it is.5
While there may be thorns and disappointments, while there may be heartache, even heartbreak, there can be peace and comfort and strength from the Lord for those who follow Him. For it is the Lord Himself who has said:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matt. 11:28–29).
It is the Lord who has said that if we keep the commandments “the Holy Ghost shall be [our] constant companion” (D&C 121:46) to buoy us up, to teach us, lead us, comfort us, and sustain us. To obtain this companionship, we need to ask for it, to live for it, to be loyal to the Lord.
I think Mormon knew very well from his own experience the truth of his words that the “Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God” (Moro. 8:26). Though we may sometimes be alone while among those of the world, we need not be lonely, for the Lord has given us the Holy Ghost to be our companion to walk with us. …
Though discipleship with the Lord requires times of standing humbly and courageously apart, the Lord will not forsake us. He also gives us the association of others who can edify and strengthen us as we go about our work of blessing others in the world. And if we are prayerful and loyal to Him and His commandments, the Lord’s promise can be applicable to us: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (D&C 84:88).
This is a promise from the Lord. I believe it. I bear testimony to you of its truth. May the Lord bless all who step out of the darkness of the world into the light of the everlasting gospel. May He bless us all to walk humbly and courageously and to know in our hearts that peace which comes from squaring one’s life with principle.6