“If you have stumbled or even been lost for a time, if you feel that the adversary now holds you captive, you can move forward with faith and not wander to and fro in the world any longer,” President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles encouraged young adults of the Church. “There are those who stand ready to guide you back to peace and security. … The possibility of this, to me, is the one truth most worth knowing.”
President Packer spoke specifically to those who are “searching for direction,” urging them to repent of sin and accept the Savior’s encompassing Atonement. He told young adults gathered in Brigham Young University’s Marriott Center and around the world for the November 6 CES devotional to “pay attention to the impressions you receive as we consider a most sacred topic. If all that you know after tonight is what you hear, then you will have missed the meaning of this discussion.”
Mercy and Mistakes
President Packer taught that sin is a part of our earthly experience, but that it can be overcome. “Because you are being tested, it is expected that you will make some mistakes. I assume that you have done things in your life that you regret, things that you cannot even apologize for; therefore, you carry a burden,” he said.
“The gospel teaches us that relief from torment and guilt can be earned through repentance. … No matter what has happened to you in your life, the Lord has prepared a way back if you will heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit. … There is a Mediator, a Redeemer who stands both willing and able to appease the demands of justice and extend mercy to those who are penitent.”
President Packer explained that a conflict exists between the eternal principles of justice and mercy. He emphasized that Christ is the key to satisfying both. “Through Him mercy can be fully extended to each of us without offending the eternal law of justice. The extension of mercy will not be automatic. It will come through covenant with Him. It will be on His terms, His generous terms. … To activate His mercy, we must repent.”
The Power to Stop
“Some are filled with a compelling urge, a temptation that recycles in the mind, perhaps to become a habit, then an addiction. We are prone to some transgression and sin and also a rationalization that we have no guilt because we were born that way. We become trapped, and hence comes the pain and torment that only the Savior can heal," President Packer said. "[But] you do have the power to stop.”
He continued, “You live in a day when the scourge of pornography is sweeping across the world. It is hard to escape it. Pornography is focused on that part of your nature through which you have the power to beget life.
“To indulge in pornography leads to difficulties, divorce, disease, and troubles of a dozen kinds. There is no part of it that is innocent. To collect it, view it, or carry it around in any form is akin to keeping a rattlesnake in your backpack. It exposes you to the inevitable spiritual equivalent of the serpent’s strike with its injection of deadly venom. … I warn you to stop it. Stop it now!”
A Willing Redeemer
President Packer encouraged young adults to have hope and to utilize the Atonement in their lives. “If at first you stumble, do not give up. Overcoming discouragement is part of the test. Do not give up. And as I have counseled before, once you have confessed and forsaken your sins, do not look back. The Lord is always there. He is willing to suffer and pay the penalty if you are willing to accept Him as your Redeemer,” he testified.
“In Gethsemane, Christ went apart from His Apostles to pray. Whatever transpired is beyond our comprehension to know! But we do know that He completed the Atonement. … His suffering was different than all others before or since because He took upon Himself all of the penalties that had ever been imposed on the human family. … There has been only one in all the annals of human history who was entirely sinless, qualified to answer for the sins and transgressions of all mankind and survive paying for them.”
Peace and Faith to Sustain You
President Packer concluded, “Do not expect that all will go smoothly throughout your life. Even for those who are living as they should, it sometimes will be just the opposite. Meet each of life’s challenges with optimism and surety, and you will have the peace and faith to sustain you now and in the future.
“For those who do not yet have all of the blessings you feel you want and need to have, I firmly believe that no experience or opportunity essential to redemption and salvation will be denied you who live faithfully. Remain worthy; be hopeful, patient, and prayerful. Things have a way of working out.”