Stay Active and Worthy
I especially ask the men of the Aaronic Priesthood to sit up and take notice. And for you, let me mix in an athletic analogy. This is a life-and-death contest we are in, young men, and so I am going to get in your face a little, nose to nose—just enough fire to singe your eyebrows a little, the way coaches do when the game is close and victory means everything. And with the game on the line, what this coach is telling you is that to play in this match, some of you have to be more morally clean than you now are. In this battle between good and evil, you cannot play for the adversary whenever temptation comes along and then expect to suit up for the Savior at temple and mission time as if nothing has happened. That, my young friends, you cannot do. God will not be mocked.
So we have a dilemma tonight, you and I. It is that there are thousands of Aaronic Priesthood-aged young men already on the records of this Church who constitute our pool of candidates for future missionary service. But the challenge is to have those deacons, teachers, and priests stay active enough and worthy enough to be ordained elders and serve as missionaries. So we need young men already on the team to stay on it and stop dribbling out of bounds just when you need to get in the game and play your hearts out! In almost all athletic contests of which I know, there are lines drawn on the floor or on the field within which every participant must stay in order to compete. Well, the Lord has drawn lines of worthiness for those called to labor with Him in this work. No missionary can be unrepentant of sexual transgression or profane language or pornographic indulgence and then expect to challenge others to repent of those very things! You cannot do that. The Spirit will not be with you, and the words will choke in your throat as you speak them. You cannot travel down what Lehi called “forbidden paths” (1 Nephi 8:28) and expect to guide others to the strait and narrow one. It can’t be done.
But there is an answer to this challenge for you every bit as much as there is for that investigator to whom you will go. Whoever you are and whatever you have done, you can be forgiven. Every one of you young men can leave behind any transgression with which you may struggle. It is “the miracle of forgiveness.” It is the miracle of the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. But you cannot do it without an active commitment to the gospel, and you cannot do it without repentance where it is needed. I am asking you young men to be active in the Church and to be clean. If required, I am asking you to get active and get clean.