The Message

Choosing Right from Wrong

Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

From a Brigham Young University fireside address given on November 3, 1996.

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Choose to do what is right because your greatest desire is to love the Lord.

young woman holding lightbulb

Photo illustration by Matthew Reier

Do you remember being afraid of the dark when you were a child? When you became frightened, you probably turned on the lights—all the lights in the house! When your parents came home later in the evening, they would ask, “Why is every light in the house on?” Then they would proceed to lecture you about the family budget and the cost of electricity.

You had learned, however, that by turning on an electric light or by lighting a candle, there was no more darkness, no more fear. You learned a simple law of nature, which is also a spiritual law: Light and darkness cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Satan and his disciples cannot tolerate the spiritual light of the gospel; they must immediately depart.

Commandments Lead Us to Light

When we live the commandments, our countenance is surrounded by gospel light. With this spiritual light we no longer wander in the strange and darkened paths of the adversary, becoming lost, discouraged, depressed, and fearful. Walking in the light of the gospel, we will not lose sight of our eternal goals.

It is important that we understand the significance to each of us when Jesus taught “believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light” (John 12:36). We must have faith and know that we are children of light and that through faith in Jesus, our Savior, and obedience to His commandments we may have His Spirit, His light, to be with us to guide us always. If we are to be children of light, we must walk in the light and, with our agency, choose the right. Yes, walk in the light and shun darkness; we must choose the right and defend the right when the choice is placed before us.

The Importance of Daily Choices

Think of the choices you are making each day. Will I go to school? How hard will I study? Will I go to church? How obedient will I be to the commandments that have been taught to me? Will I prepare myself to go to the temple and on a mission? Will I be worthy to go to the temple and be sealed to my companion for time and all eternity? Who will be my friends, and did I choose them for the right reasons? What kind of a friend will I be? What kind of a son or daughter, brother or sister, am I? Do I spiritually strengthen all family members with my conduct and attitude? Will I be honest and live with integrity in all my choices?

These and many more choices and decisions must be encountered each day of our lives. How we make each daily choice in life affects what we become during our life in mortality, as well as having eternal consequences. If we, as members of the Church, are obedient and walk in the light, having both the Light of Christ and the gift of the Holy Ghost to guide us, we will make the right choices. If we make our choices without the Holy Ghost, we will make wrong choices that lead us toward the darkness—and we will wander in strange paths and be lost.

The Savior said, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:46). “To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79).

Jesus Christ with disciples

The Lord is an everlasting light without beginning and without end. His light will never fail us in times of need. Church members must use both the Light of Christ and the gift of the Holy Ghost that has been given us to make the most important choice—whom we will serve.

You are standing at the crossroads of life with many choices placed before you. You have been given agency, and you will have choices to make that will have an influence on who you are and what you will be. In Primary you learned to “choose the right when a choice is placed before you” (“Choose the Right,” Hymns, no. 239). What is meant by “choose the right”?

Agency means I am free to choose right or wrong and I am responsible for my choices. May we all be faithful and strong when we have difficult choices to make in times of trials and tribulations.

Commandments Bless Us

Heavenly Father gave us commandments to guide us and help us choose the right. Often we hear that commandments are restrictive and difficult to live. Commandments are given to us by a loving Father who cares for us and wants us, through our obedience, to live a happy and joyous life. “But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” (D&C 59:23).

Choosing to live the commandments saves us the pain and sorrow that come from acts of disobedience. “Light and truth forsake that evil one” (D&C 93:37). The greatest sorrow would be living unworthy here in mortality and not to be able to return into the presence of God the Father eternally.

The Decision to Choose the Right

Choosing the right is a decision-making process. Choose to learn what is the right way to live your life, learning principles and keeping the commandments and covenants that guide and protect you as you exercise your agency in daily choices.

Will you have a desire to do what is right once you know what is right? Choose to do what is right when you have a choice to make that will affect your eternal goals, such as controlling the natural man’s attitude and pride. Be humble.

Choose to do what is right because your greatest desire is to love the Lord and to be obedient to His laws, ordinances, and commandments so that you can return back into His presence eternally. Choose to do what is right because you love yourself and because you honor those who love you.

Help others to do what is right. Choose to be of service and be an example of what is right by lifting and strengthening others to do what is right because you care.

Choose to turn around and repent immediately if you ever depart from the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life. Repentance is a merciful result of our Savior’s atoning sacrifice because of the love our Father in Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ have for each of us.

I ask that each one of us will be a light, that we will walk in the light, that we will choose the right, and that we will defend the right. I know that God lives. His Son Jesus Christ is the Light that has been given to us so that we may follow and know where to go.