Photo illustrations by John Luke, Leslie Nilsson, Jon Moe, Matthew Reier, Weston Colton
Standing on Higher Ground
The 2013 Mutual theme is taken from Doctrine and Covenants 87:8: “Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come.” The question I hope every young man will ponder throughout this coming year is, Am I standing in holy places?
As I have met with valiant young men all around the world, I have witnessed firsthand how thousands of you are doing this already in so many ways. You stand in the holiest of places each time you enter the temple to perform baptisms for the dead. I encourage you to take every opportunity available to enter the temple and to always be worthy to do so.
Each day as you fulfill your duty to God, you stand in holy places and are in a position to lift others. You stand in holy places as you prepare, bless, and pass the sacrament each Sunday. You stand in holy places as you share the gospel and when you act as a standing minister—one who is always able, willing, and worthy to serve and strengthen others.
As an Aaronic Priesthood holder, you have been given the charge to warn, expound, exhort, teach, and invite all to come unto Christ (see D&C 20:59). President Harold B. Lee (1899–1973) said: “You cannot lift another soul until you are standing on higher ground than he is. … You cannot light a fire in another soul unless it is burning in your own soul.”1 Young men, this means you should continually work to strengthen your testimony and always be willing to share it.
You have a sacred responsibility to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands. As you pray and study the scriptures, strive to keep the commandments, and listen to the promptings of the Spirit, you will find yourself on higher ground. As a consequence, wherever you are can become a holy place. Then, when situations arise, you will have the strength, courage, and the ability to help lift others. You will have the power and protection the Lord promises those who stand in holy places.
I love what President Thomas S. Monson said about these promises when he assured us that as we draw near to the Lord, “we will feel His Spirit in our lives, providing us the desire and the courage to stand strong and firm in righteousness—to ‘stand … in holy places, and be not moved’ (D&C 87:8).
“As the winds of change swirl around us and the moral fiber of society continues to disintegrate before our very eyes, may we remember the Lord’s precious promise to those who trust in Him: ‘Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee’ (Isaiah 41:10).”2
Harold B. Lee, “Stand Ye in Holy Places,” Ensign, July 1973, 123.
Thomas S. Monson, “Stand in Holy Places,” Ensign, Nov. 2011, 86.
Holy Places in Your Life
This year’s Mutual theme invites you to step out of the world and into the kingdom of God. As President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has taught, we live in enemy territory.1 “Stand ye in holy places” is the key to survival.
This theme invites important questions: What is a holy place? Where is a holy place? How can we stand in holy places? How do we make places we regularly inhabit more holy? As you seek answers to these questions, your answers will guide your associations, your choice of activities, and your dress, words, and actions.
You have committed to strengthen your home and family. Strive to make your home a holy place, filled with the Spirit of the Lord. You can support family prayer and scripture study.
Your room can be a holy place that invites the Spirit. If the prophet were to see your room, would he view it as a holy place? Do you?
We can stand in holy places as we go to church. The scriptures teach that the wards and stakes of Zion are holy places that will “be for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm” (D&C 115:6).
The most holy place on earth is the temple. President Thomas S. Monson has said: “My young friends who are in your teenage years, always have the temple in your sights. Do nothing which will keep you from entering its doors and partaking of the sacred and eternal blessings there. I commend those of you who already go to the temple regularly to perform baptisms for the dead.”2 Always be worthy to have a current temple recommend, even if a temple is far away.
Anywhere you are where the Spirit is present can be a holy place. President Harold B. Lee (1899–1973) taught that holy places have more to do with how one lives than where one lives.3 If you live worthy of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, then you stand in a holy place.
Every temple has the inscription “Holiness to the Lord.” Seek to always stand in holy places. As you live the standards, pray daily, and read the scriptures—especially the Book of Mormon—you will feel the companionship of the Holy Ghost. The Lord Himself promises you, “For verily I say unto you, that great things await you” (D&C 45:62). I agree and testify that this is true!
See Boyd K. Packer, “How to Survive in Enemy Territory,” New Era, Apr. 2012, 2–5.
Thomas S. Monson, “The Holy Temple—a Beacon to the World,” Ensign, May 2011, 93.
See Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324 and 325, 2nd ed. (Church Educational System manual, 2001), 196.
Where Do You Stand?
What do you do to stand in holy places in your life? Take a photo of yourself in your holy place and send it to the New Era. See back cover for details, or visit lds.org/go/2013pics.