“Eternal principles are the scaffolding the Church provides,” Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles told students at Brigham Young University—Idaho. “These eternal principles are embedded in the doctrines of the kingdom of our Eternal Father and reflect His eternal plan of happiness. We meet as members of the Church to teach and learn from each other the principles of righteousness and receive saving ordinances so the scaffolding is stable and steady as we build our eternal family units.”
Elder Perry recalled the words of the eleventh President of the Church, Harold B. Lee (1899-1973), who emphasized that the backbone of the gospel of Jesus Christ—individuals and families—is to be upheld by the Church.
Be Bold in Declaring Christ
“Never worry about offending others by living up to the standards of the Church,” Elder Perry said at a devotional on January 24, 2012. “I promise you that living up to a temple recommend standard will bless and never hurt you in any situation in which you might find yourself.”
Challenging the students to “dare to be different,” Elder Perry said that we live in a time when religion and morality are ridiculed. As the Church accelerates further into the spotlight, he said, we must be ready to defend our faith through righteous example and a desire to spread the gospel.
“You and I must be bold in our declaration of the divinity of Jesus Christ,” he said. “We want others to know that we believe He is the central figure in all history. Only through Jesus Christ is salvation possible. This is why we believe He is the central figure in all human history.”
“None of us know when the Savior will come again, but I’m quite certain that you sense, as I do, an unmistakable acceleration in the fulfillment of prophecies. Each of us must prepare now to play his or her foreordained part as the final pieces of Heavenly Father’s plan come together in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times. It will require of us much because much has been given to us.”
Build Enduring Traditions
“Notice that the Church is not meant to do the work of parents—it guides the work of parents. The Church offers eternal form. As builders of eternal families, we are reassured by promises that if we build according to this eternal form, our efforts can provide the safety and protection we seek for those we love the most.”
“Make the honoring of family traditions and the development of new ones a priority throughout your lives,” Elder Perry says. “Studies show that the reason young people join gangs is for the tradition and ritual of belonging to something larger than self. That is what a family should be. Be certain you are creating a rich environment for your family to look forward to in these special times of the year when traditions hold you together as a great eternal family unit.
“Family traditions can offer the basic and lasting support, but there’s a lot that must be built around them. Perhaps family traditions can only work when we create a role for every member of the family and there is a united effort to build them. This means that family members need to spend time together and also learn how to work together. When it comes to families, there is no such thing as quality time without a certain amount of quantity time. … The scaffolding of the Church will help remind you of these eternal priorities.”
Why Not Order Milk?
Along with our family lives, Elder Perry says the Church serves as scaffolding for our professional lives as well. We have the knowledge of the truth of the gospel, and through it, we have a duty to better others as well as ourselves.
As a former retail executive, Elder Perry would attend meetings in which alcoholic beverages were served. Instead of blending in or hiding his morality from his colleagues, Elder Perry determined to order a glass of milk to show everyone his standards and what they meant to him.
“Then a funny thing started to happen,” Elder Perry says. “At future meetings more people started ordering milk and drinking it with me. They confided in me that their wives did not like them drinking because it might impair their driving as they returned home. Instead of feeling awkward during cocktail hours, I soon became the center of conversation. It helped me meet more people and fulfill the purpose to which I was gathering.
“I learned an important lesson from this experience. If I keep my promises to the Lord, He will always keep His promises to me. He would always fulfill His end of the bargain—and much, much more—if I fulfilled mine.”
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