The word saint in Greek denotes “set apart, separate, [and] holy.”1 If we are to be Saints in our day, we need to separate ourselves from evil conduct and destructive pursuits that are prevalent in the world.
We are bombarded with visual images of violence and immorality. Inappropriate music and pornography are increasingly tolerated. The use of drugs and alcohol is rampant. There is less emphasis on honesty and character. Individual rights are demanded, but duties, responsibilities, and obligations are neglected. There has been a coarsening of dialogue and increased exposure to that which is base and vulgar. The adversary has been relentless in his efforts to undermine the plan of happiness. If we separate ourselves from this worldly conduct, we will have the Spirit in our lives and experience the joy of being worthy Latter-day Saints.
As Saints, we also need to avoid the worship of worldly gods. President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) expressed the desire that “everyone might have some of the good things of life” but cautioned, “It is the obsession with riches that cankers and destroys.”2
The prophet Moroni, speaking of our day, warned about the love of money and substance and suggested that we would love them more than we “love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted” (Mormon 8:37).
If we are to be worthy Saints, we should minister to others and adhere to the Savior’s admonition to love God and our fellowmen.
Separation from the evils of the world needs to be accompanied by holiness. A Saint loves the Savior and follows Him in holiness and devotion. Evidence of this kind of holiness and devotion is exemplified by consecration and sacrifice. President Hinckley taught, “Without sacrifice there is no true worship of God.”3 Sacrifice is the crowning test of the gospel. It means consecrating time, talents, energy, and earthly possessions to further the work of God. In Doctrine and Covenants 97:8, it concludes, “All … who … are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice—yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command—they are accepted of me.”
Saints who respond to the Savior’s message will not be led astray by distracting and destructive pursuits and will be prepared to make appropriate sacrifices. The importance of sacrifice to those who want to be Saints is exemplified by the atoning sacrifice of the Savior, which is at the center of the gospel (see Alma 34:8–16).