Winter 1999

Fill the Measure of Your Creation

20 Jan. 1999

Transcript

Fill the Measure of Your Creation 

 
Thank you President Woodhouse. It's great to be with you here this morning. I didn't know what to expect when they told me I was speaking at a devotional of a business college. I thought you would be stiff business people here this morning, and I came prepared to address you that way. I didn't know it was a devotional. I hadn't thought about it until this morning, and my secretary informed me, "These are just good LDS students going to school here." I recognize some of you, having taught you in the mission field, and seen you in zone conferences. It feels a little like a zone conference this morning, to be with you and feel your spirit of wanting to know, wanting to learn. That is what is so exciting about teaching missionaries. I sense that from you. My thoughts have been mixed, and though I have a prepared text you probably won't hear very much of it this morning. I just want to visit with you about where you are in life, where you are going, how I can help, how the church helps, and how the president of the church helps.
I recently read a book, "The World According to Peter Drucker," by Jack Beatty. I hope you all know about him. Anybody that is going to a business college needs to know about Peter Drucker, so if you don't, find out who he is because he is considered the father of modern business management.
You are here in school to learn about business. As I read this book I saw so many parallels in a gospel context. Peter Drucker's motto was, "Born to see, meant to look." I am fascinated by this world we live in. I really believe that we were born to see and meant to look. That is why we came here. I want to learn everything about the world I can. I believe the Lord sent us here to find out about it. I think that is what he intended, when he told Adam and Eve to be fruitful, to multiply, replenish the earth and subdue it. He wanted you to look it over, see what's here, and make the best of what is around you. I hope, in your sojourn here, I can help you in this discovery, so while you are here it can be a happy experience, for our purpose in being here is to be happy. He also said, "I have to see the whole, everything before I can go to work. I have to see it first, I have to hear it first." And then he talks about having taught subjects on business management for years. But only as he taught did he come to understand it. The glorious thing about being a Latter-day Saint is that we all have the opportunity to explain who we are, what we do, and why we're here. That is why we go on missions, that is why we teach Sunday School.
During the Southern Baptist Convention, I had the opportunity of meeting with ten of the prominent Baptist ministers, of the Southwest Area. (I am going to miss the Southwest Area as I am now going to the Mexico North Area. As of Monday, we will be living in Monterrey, Mexico. You see Seventies live in a temporary world, with a temporary assignment because we go when and where they send us. It was just two and a half weeks ago, President Monson called me into his office and said: "Brother Mickelsen how, long have you been home from South America? It hasn't been very long has it?" I said, "Well, it has been three years." And he said: "Well you ought to stay longer but we need you in Northern Mexico. You can take all of the time you'd like getting ready as long as you are there by the 25th.") During the Southern Baptist convention, I had dinner with these ministers and had a marvelous experience. I sat next to one, who is a very Billy Grahamesque figure. He is wealthy, he dresses the part, he looks the part, he has a charisma that made me envious. While eating our lunch I said, "Tell me about the convention. What is the purpose of it, and what do you do?" He said, "Well, we come together as churches to talk about better ways to teach, better ways to build up our congregations. That sort of thing." I said, "How do you decide who is in charge?" He said, "We elect a chairmen, in fact, I was chairman of the convention two years ago." I asked, "Is there any kind central organization in your church?" He replied, "Each congregation is autonomous in its place and we build up our own congregations, of course after going to seminary, and we all teach from the Bible." Then an interesting thing happened. As he started to explain how fragmented they were in their organization he realized he was getting in too deep and stopped, almost mid-sentence, turning to me he said, "Tell me about your church. How is it organized?" He couldn't have asked a better question. I responded. "We are led by a prophet of God, who has two counselors, and a council of twelve apostles." He then asked, "Where do you come in, and what do you do?" "Well," I said, "I am in the next layer of hierarchy, a Seventy, as spoken of in the ancient scriptures, it is an apostolic commission. We go in place of the apostles when they are unable to go."
"How do you get to be a Seventy?" You know these questions couldn't have been programed better, "Well, I grew up in the Church. I was ordained a deacon when I was twelve years old. Every worthy male in the Church can receive the priesthood when they are twelve years old. When they are fourteen, sixteen and eighteen, they are advanced in the priesthood. I then served a mission for the Church in Central America. I came home, continued my education, married, and started my profession of farming. At a young age, I was called to be a bishop in the Church, to preside over a small congregation, and then a stake president, where there are five, ten, up to twelve congregations. After this assignment, I was called to be a mission president in South America." I clearly explained to him that it is a lay ministry, that we don't go to seminary to learn what we teach, but we learn by participating and that we are not paid for our service.
I think that was what Peter Drucker was talking about. "Born to see, meant to look." In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we learn by participating. It was a beautiful experience to be with those men that day, and to be able to tell them about the monolithic structure of the Church, about a prophet of God, and how we follow him. The question was asked, "Why did you want to go to South America?" I said, "It wasn't a matter of want, it was a matter of going where the Lord asked me to go. We believe all calls come through inspiration from the Lord." What a contrast, what a difference! I was so grateful to be a Latter-day Saint. I hope you are also grateful for this marvelous blessing.
Peter Drucker said, "Try practicing simplicity of description. It is not easy, but the more you practice describing things clearly, the greater the ability to see clearly." And then he said, "Practice seeing the obvious," and I thought about this experience with the ministers. You see, all I did was explain the obvious. Sometimes we get entangled trying to explain too much.
I suppose you've heard about the 20 second elevator interview: when you are on an elevator and you have just 20 seconds between floors, what would you say if someone were to ask you, "What do you believe, what does yourChurch teach?" You have 20 seconds to describe that. I think we all should take this challenge and be prepared to explain what we do, who we are, and what the Church is, in a very concise statement. Take time to think and to write a concise statement of what the Church is. It will focus you.
As I go about teaching missionaries I tell them, "The longer I live the less I know. But the better I know what I know." I used to think that I knew a lot of things. But information is one thing, knowledge and understanding is another. Sometimes I will ask missionaries if they have a testimony of the omniscience of God. And usually they will say, "Of course I have a testimony of the omniscience of God." And then I will respond with something like this. "I am not sure I do." I can explain it, but I am not sure I have a testimony. My testimony is based on simple things. This I know, "God is my Father. I was created in his image. Christ is his Son. Through his atonement I can get back to live with my Father." Those simple concepts are the things that are important.
It is amazing how few people know what they are good at. Yet that is why we are here, to discover that knowledge. And sometimes we depreciate and disparage the things we are good at. If it comes easy, too often, we are lazy and don't develop it. Something that comes easy is a gift, and should be developed, enhanced and magnified.
Most schools tend to concentrate on problems more than on strengths. I hope you help others find their strengths-- the things they can do, that which they have the capacity to do. Help every man to find his personal gifts. Some of you are artists, you think with the right side of your brain. Don't let that depreciate and deteriorate. If you are an artist, develop it, but at the same time, don't let the left side decay either. In business, in doing the kinds of things you are preparing to do, if you are specializing in computers you learn the simple processes of computation or word processing, but you don't learn what is behind that. Learn those things. Learn all you can. Watch your leaders. Try to emulate them. I was recently with Elder Russell M. Nelson in a regional conference. He notices everything and wants to know about it. That is how he has developed his gifts. He was not only an eminent heart surgeon, but he is a musician as well. He is blessed with a gift for music, and has developed a perfect pitch. That is a miracle to me. I love music, I love to sing and I understand enough about music to know what a marvelous gift perfect pitch is. I couldn't comprehend how anyone could have that gift until our youngest son came along. And I saw it develop before my eyes. When he was five years old, his mother started him playing the piano. It's hard to keep the attention of a five-year-old playing the piano. But when he experienced his gift and started, he could feel the music. It was such a joy to him he would sit at the piano and play for hours. Today, at your age, he has developed a perfect pitch. One can start singing any note of the music scale, and he can sit at the piano and play in the same pitch. Gifts are extremely valuable but don't seek for what someone else excels in. It is easy to be tempted to go after what someone else does well. If it is worthy of emulation you might want to try that, but find your own excellence and develop the gifts within you, those you were born with.
A few years ago our son-in-law decided to go into zoology. I said, "Dave, what are you going into zoology for? The only thing you will be able to do is teach, or do research." I had no vision for zoology and was looking at it from a strictly financial point of view; then I added, "Dave, you will always be poor."
In my life, as an entrepreneur, I tried to make money. The entrepreneur has a tendency to assume that everybody should be an entrepreneur, but not everybody can be. You need to excel at the gifts that are given to you. Dave just finished his doctorate at LSU and is going to Japan to work on a post doctorate with one of the most prestigious research zoologist in the world. He started his research in gene mapping of rodents. That has lead him into molecular evolution where he is charting new territory never before discovered. That is our son-in-law, and I thought he was going nowhere in zoology.
The common scientific thought is that DNA changes are random. You probably understand this, but he had to explain it to me. He is building a paradigm that demonstrates there are constraints, that DNA changes are not random. One day in the future true science and religion will come together to establish that God is the author of all creation and Dave's work may be a small link or piece in that puzzle. I'm proud of him. I'm grateful that he is a zoologist. When I saw him as curator of the LSU Museum I thought, "This would be a hard place for me to work." He is fascinated by it, and he is working on the gifts that the Lord has given him.
When Peter Drucker was in the forth grade, Miss Elsa devised a way that Peter was responsible for his own learning. She gave him a notebook, and required him to record what he expected to learn at the beginning of each week, and then to check his expectations against the results at the end of the week. I wish my fourth grade teacher had taught me that principle. I wish we had more Miss. Elsa's. I hope there are some here, so they can help you decide where you are going, not just where someone else thinks you should go. Imagine how your life would change if you were writing out what you expected to achieve each week in your schooling and then you sought after that.
I was with President Hinckley in September of 1997, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was invited by a religious news correspondent from Houston, who was the chairman of the Religious News Writers of America, to come and speak at their convention. I had the good fortune to accompany him. What an exciting and scary experience that was. I flew down the night before and met him there. We went to the hotel where the convention was being held. David Briggs, an Associated Press correspondent, had asked for a special interview with the prophet prior to the convention. (I don't think President Hinckley is afraid of anything. Isn't that comforting to know.) He granted that interview. As we sat in interview I watched something happen I wish you all could have seen.
David Briggs started out asking the hard ball kind of questions. He went right at him. And for the first answer, I was on the edge of my seat, because I thought that President Hinckley was tentative, as he was hesitating a little. And I thought, "Could it be, could it be that he is losing some of that edge that he has had as our prophet, is that possible?"
The first question was hard and he was tentative, the next question was harder yet, and then he started to warm up. And each time he'd make a point he would bring his fist down on the table. I watched that hard-nosed Associated Press reporter melt in his hands and ask questions that were so positive you would think that he was programmed by the missionary department.
Then we went into the news conference, the podium was on the same level as the writers, an audience of a hundred and sixty, or eighty people. There was an aisle down the middle and about fifteen feet away was another podium facing the prophet. He delivered his talk, which had been prepared in advance and each writer had received their advanced copy. After the address, he opened it up for questions. What a marvelous time.
One of the reporters said, "I attended the open house for your temple in Saint Louis. In one of the special rooms where you have the opposing mirrors, mirrors that reflect your image into infinity, I think you people say eternity. The president of your Twelve Apostles said the mirrors have to do with your understanding of eternity and how you Mormons are in the center, and some day you will have your own little world. Would you elaborate on that, please?"
I thought, what is he going to do now? I was grateful he was standing there, not I. He said, "Well first of all, speaking of the future, let me say I've not been their before." He has such a way of putting everyone at ease. Now this is the classic 20-second elevator response, He said, "I've never been there, but before we were born we lived in the presence of our Father in Heaven, we had the opportunity to learn and grow to become like him. We come to this life to continue to progress and learn all that we can. When we die it is not a stagnant existence. We continue to learn and grow. It has to do with the eternal progression of man. Does that answer your question?" The reporter said, "I don't know, I guess so," and sat down.
I heard a sportscaster ask the question, "Do you remember where you were when Mark McGuire hit his 62nd home run?" How many of you remember where you were? Just two or three or four of you. I remember where I was and I will never forget it. Not because of a home run, I was listening to a prophet of God on Larry King live. And so were most of you I hope. If you weren't you should have been. You see Mark McGuire's 62nd home run, breaking Roger Maris's record will be long forgotten for me, but my experience with a prophet of God will never be forgotten.
A little girl in school one day went up to the teacher after class and asked, "Teacher what did I learn today?" She said, "Well I don't know, why do you ask?" The little girl replied, "I've got to know because everyday when I go home my dad asks me what I learned today." I can tell most of you have had that experience. So have I. What did you learn in school today? One of these days we have a Father who will be asking, "What did you learn." And He is expecting us to fill the measure of our creation.
Before becoming a General Authority, I was a farmer and livestock man. A good livestock man always wants a good cattle dog. One that knows how to help him herd cattle, because a good dog can replace three or four cowboys. One day my cousin, from Grace, Idaho, whose father had the finest cattle dog I had ever seen, said, "Trixie's expecting family. Would you like to have one of the puppies" I said, "You know I would." He replied, " Well, I have five promised, if she has more than five, you can have one."
I awaited the day. He finally called and said, "Well, it's a great day. She had six. If they all live you can have one." I waited anxiously. About two months later Dan drove into the yard. It was early in the morning. I was sitting at the breakfast table and I saw his car drive in. I ran out. He opened the trunk and there inside were two border collie puppies. One was black as coal and white as snow. A beautiful little puppy. I pointed to that one and said, "That's mine." He said, "No, this one is yours." He pointed to the other one.
"This one?" He was a mixture of black, brown, white and ugly, but when I picked him up, out of the trunk, I could tell he was a strong puppy. Dan said, "He should be a good one. He has followed his mother more than any of the others." He was a good one. There are a lot of stories that I could tell you about him. The first day, and that was back in the days when you had to have milk cows to have milk for the house. (Some of you don't even know you get milk from cows. You just buy it in the store. But we had to milk the cows.) I took the puppy out with me to milk the cow; sat down on the one legged milk stool and started milking. The puppy laid down behind the cows heels. (Border collies are natural born heelers.) I could tell by the way he was looking he wanted to bite her on the heels, which made it difficult milking that day but I didn't correct him, for that is what I wanted him to learn to do. I wanted that instinct to develop.
I started to discipline him the first day. We were hauling potatoes out of the potato storage behind the house. I left him at the house and told him to stay. About ten minutes later he was under my feet, so I took him back, disciplined him a little more and told him to stay. About another ten minutes, he was back again. I didn't want him to get run over by one of the big potato trucks so I took him back to the house and this time I made him understand.
Maybe that is the kind of discipline all of us need, to really understand. From that day forward I could send him to the house from any place on the ranch and he would stay until I gave him permission to leave. I thought, wouldn't it be great to have kids like that. Anyway, he learned well. I would take him to the mountains with me, and with hand signals when he was too far away to hear, I could send him around the cattle. He was wonderful, everyone wanted a dog like Stub. (We called him Stub, because of his short tail.) He had the right instincts and they developed beautifully. Every time I would leave the house he would look to see if he had permission to jump in the back of the pickup truck to go with me, and with permission, he went everywhere I went. He was not only a great livestock dog, but a good friend.
I was reading in a live stock magazine about a competition of border collies in Scotland. The winners were worth $5,000 to $10,000. I thought, "$10,000 for a dog? We give them away on the farm." But Stub didn't have a price on him. He was priceless to me. He was not for sale. The other one, the pretty one, he didn't have a price either because he wasn't worth anything. He had the same instincts, but they were directed in the wrong channels. He would lie out in the gutter and try to herd cars as they passed by. With a little discipline and hard work, my dog Stub, "filled the measure of his creation." I wonder how many times we lie in the gutter, and chase cars as they go by instead of filling the measure of our creation by following the celestial instincts the Lord has given each of us.
May the Lord bless you, that you may fill the measure of your creation, that this experience today may help you set in order the things that will be necessary to help you accomplish that. This is Christ's Church, of that I have no doubt or question. As his witness I want you to know that I know he lives, for I know him and love him, and know that through Him any challenge you may have can be overcome if you follow Him.

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Personal Reflections: Light from the House of the Lord

09 Feb. 1999

Transcript

Personal Reflections: Light from the House of the Lord

 
I would like begin and center my remarks around a scripture, D&C 50:24. I get funny phone calls all of the time about my father, funny questions from people that I don't know. A lot of them are Primary presidents and they want to know his favorite food, his favorite color, his favorite dessert-dessert is a big one, I don't why-all sorts of questions that I have no idea how to answer.
One particular Sunday morning I had a frantic Primary president call and say, "I need to know where your father was baptized." I said, "I don't know." And she said, "What do you mean, you don't know?" I said, "I don't know." She said, "I have to know and I have to know in an hour." And I said, "I can't tell you right now." And she said, "Well I have to be at Primary and I have to know in an hour." She kept on going, and got testier. And I kept on saying I don't know. And finally she said, "What I need to know is, somehow every President of the Church before President Hinckley, no President has ever been baptized in a regular font in a church building." She said, "If he was, he would be the first." I said that I was sure that he was because I would know. I said, "Let me call you back in five minutes, and see if I can check." So I called up my father and I said, "Where were you baptized?" And he said, "Who wants to know?" So I told him the story and he said that he was baptized in a font. I said, "Don't tell me where, I can't have this kind of classified information. It's just too big of a responsibility." So I don't know where he was baptized, just that he was baptized in a font. But there is one thing that I do know because it's one of his favorite scriptures, and this is verifiable and true:
"That which is God is light; and he that receieveth light, and continueth in God, receieveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day." (D&C 50:24)
It is a wonderful scripture, isn't it. I am watching you who have the light coming across you from the window. I know it is in your eyes, but I can't tell you what that path of light does when I look out and I see your faces lit up. "That which is of light cometh of God, and that light groweth brighter and brighter until a perfect day."
Yesterday was my birthday, and so I come to you a little older then I would have been last week. Birthdays for me have become very, very sweet events. The numbers themselves are curious things. They don't mean what they used to. When you turn five you can go to school, when you turn sixteen you can get a driver's license, when you turn eighteen you can vote. There isn't anything that I can think of that I can do today that I couldn't do yesterday. And so and the only way I notice the number is sort of being shocked that it is so big. What generally happens to me is that it gives me an opportunity to stop for just a minute and think back and be able to see some patterns, and some things about the road that I have traveled that I don't always notice when I am in fast forward. And so I did some turning around yesterday and looking. I experienced a flood of tender feelings of testimony that I feel compelled to speak aloud to you today. I hope you will forgive just an old lady's personal stories, because that is really where I am today. And I want to tell some stories, actually they aren't stories; but they are the recounting of several epiphanies in my life. And they have a common theme.
An epiphany, as the dictionary tells us, is a sudden, intuitive insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, and its usually initiated by some simple homely or common-place experience. That sounds like an eternal truth to me. I believe an epiphany is a literary way of talking about the operation of the Holy Spirt that enlightens your mind. You know, how suddenly a light goes on in your mind and you see the reality, the big picture of the eternal things that are important?
The first epiphany I want to tell you about occurred last Thursday. I was invited by some old friends to go to L.A. for a few days to see the Van Gough exhibit. I have never done anything like this in my life. But for some miraculous reason the arrangements were made and they all came together, and I found myself in the middle of just a wonderfully nurturing three--day R&R. On Thursday morning, the six of us decided to go to the L.A. Temple to do a session.
I have to backtrack a little bit and give you some history. In 1956 before my father was a General Authority he was working to produce the first films for temples. As part of that assignment he was on the temple dedication committee that deals with all the arrangements for tickets, etc. And he had to take down a number of things. He had to drive to California and so he decided that he would take the family to a dedicatory session, at least those of us who were old enough. I was eleven years old and it was my first experience inside a temple. This is the recommend signed by my bishop on March 5, 1956. And that accounts for the epiphany I had in the celestial room when we completed the session last Thursday. I have not been inside that temple in the intervening forty-three years since that March day in 1956.
There were only nine people in the company. The eight o'clock session in the Los Angeles Temple is quite sparse. Nobody faces the eight o'clock traffic in Los Angeles to go to the temple. So there were only nine of us, and we had an opportunity to linger in the celestial room for quite a few minutes. As I brought up the pictures that I remembered of that experience when I was eleven and the one that I was having then, it was as if I could see my entire relationship with the house of the Lord, its flow, its constant increase in power during the intervening forty-three years. It strikes me in virtually every case when I have found myself in a building that I'd frequent as a child but had not been in for a number of years, that it definitely appears much smaller, and less grand, than I remembered it. Not so last Thursday. I remember feeling awed by the floor-to-ceiling painted murals, and the wonder of that experience those long years ago. But it was nothing, nothing compared to my awe and wonder last Thursday.
The temple was bigger, it was lighter, it was more beautiful, it was more full of peace, than any memory that I had of it in 1956. And as I contemplated that unique fact, the insight came to me that the glory of the building was not diminished for me, but conversely was greatly increased. Because as a seasoned temple worshiper I understood, felt and experienced so much more, than my eleven-year-old self had been capable of.
"That which is of God is light, and he that receieveth light and continueth in light and continueth in God receieveth more light, and that light groweth brighter and brighter until a perfect day."
As I dressed in my street clothes and returned my current recommend to my pocket, I was overwhelmed with the continuing light I have received, and so much of it in temples. The L.A. Temple was the twelfth temple in the Church and we now have, I believe, ninety-nine at some stage either announced or under construction. My desire for just the few minutes we have remaining is that you will have an increased understanding of the temple road that you are walking. But as I share some personal examples you will rehearse in your own minds your own temple experiences if you have had any yet. Or the ones that you contemplate having, or have resolved to have, down that path of light, even until the light grows brighter and brighter until the perfect day.
I won't forget walking through the dressing room of the temple following a session. For the year past my husband and I had felt great concern for one of our children. One of the things that concerned me the most was my deteriorating relationship with her. Lehi described himself once in the Book of Mormon as an anxious parent. And anxiety is just the thing that I felt I was overwhelming her with. Anxiety and fear rather than faith and love. But I was finding it impossible to break that cycle. As I walked to my locker the thought came clearly to my mind: She will be here one day. I went home with a new feeling of peace and read within the next little while the words in Alma 32. They had a new meaning for me because of the words that I heard in my mind during the temple visit.
"Then ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you."
I wish that I could say from that moment on my conversation with this particular child has changed completely. But I do know from that moment on there was a guarantee of fruit that I believed in at the deepest place in my soul. And the words pulled me forward as a light in the distance.
I heard Elder Lorin Dunn say on one occasion, "The temple trains you so you can hear His voice." Isn't that interesting training? You're being trained to do some things in the world of business. The temple trains so you can hear His voice.
I remember another day--this time I was eighteen or nineteen years old--and I had a summer job in an office downtown. The time I left home everyday was dependent on my father's schedule, not mine. He was the driver; I was the passenger. The office I worked in didn't open until eight o'clock, much later than most of his meetings, and so I often had an hour or more to kill. The only inviting place was a little corner in the old visitors' center on Temple Square. I love to read, and so it turned out to be quite a pleasant arrangement.
One morning I had been reading and grew a little restless, so I wandered out on the grounds to stretch my legs. I had only walked about twenty paces when I stopped and looked up at the temple. And one of those indelible moments occurred.
I found welling up in me a fierce commitment to go in that building one day. To do and be whatever it took to be worthy and able to go to that temple. So powerful was that promise to myself and to the Lord, I believe I can take everyone of you to that place on the sidewalk. I know exactly where it is; I know exactly where I was standing. And I can see in my memory to this day down that long road that morning and it looks like light to me, morning light.
Another day, shortly after we were married, my husband and I moved out of the state. There was no temple closer than the one in Salt Lake, and that was twenty-one hours away. He was in training and we only had one or two visits home during that time. They were at Christmas time. I think the temple was closed, or maybe we didn't inquire, I don't know. After several years we moved back, and I had a lots of little children by then, and I found it really difficult to get a babysitter for a extended length of time, so we didn't go to many sessions.
For many years, in fact, my attendance was largely a result of waiting until guilt feelings became heavier than I could manage. At that point I would go to the temple, and the peace I felt when leaving a session was largely due to that temporary lifting of guilt.
I kept on hearing about people who said that they learned something every single time they went to the temple. I wondered about that and I thought it sounded pretty good. So I began to go with a new attitude, looking and listening to learn. I tried to figure things out. What the multiple meanings of words might be, what the symbols might be standing for, what the order of things might signify. I began asking questions of myself and trying to find the answers. It was interesting, and I believe productive, because I began to go to the temple for more positive reasons than guilt. And looking back down the road there is light.
But the light grew much brighter one particular day. I was just too tired to keep my mind on every word. And a little discouraged about the fact that even when trying, there were times when I went to the temple and I didn't figure out anything that I hadn't known before. As I relaxed into the seat and let the session carry me as it were, I began to be filled, to learn in a way that I hadn't expected. I felt changes going on inside of me, but they weren't changes that I could put words to. It felt as if every cell in my body were just a little bit different when I left. Nothing that I could point to, but when I look back again, it is light.
I read a talk later by Elder (F. Enzio) Busche where he described the temple as "the Lord's university." Of course, I thought, His university wouldn't be one where you figure out a number of right answers so that you could ultimately fill in all the blanks and pass a test. In His university you would gradually grow in a way that you were literally different, more like him. And that is what I recognized was happening to me that day in the temple.
Bishop Victor L. Brown said, "The spirit of the Lord distills upon one's soul in these holy houses. A new perception comes into focus of who we are, of what this life is really about, the opportunities of eternal life and of our relationship with the Savior."
Elder Perry at the dedication of the Los Angeles said, "Use this building to grow more like Him."
"That which is of God is light, and that light groweth brighter, and brighter, until the perfect day."
I also was aware, because I go to church and I listen to talks, that the temple is a place of personal revelation. And so I began to go there when I was in great need and wrestling with questions and problems that drove me in desperation to his house for answers. On one of those days I was in a session. I went with the idea that I would think and pray through the entire day. Nothing came, no ideas, no answers, nothing seemed relevant. In fact, my mind kept on going other places and I couldn't keep it focused on the problem. The place that it was going was just to a few words in the endowment ceremony. After that part was over I kept on going through it. And it seemed very, very unrelated to the problem. In fact, those words created a compelling call to action for me. Later, weeks later, I realized that it was the answer to my dilemma. I learned the lesson that the Lord thinks outside the box, and that His thinking and His answers are stunningly right, compared to what I thought were the answers.
This is from the dedicatory prayer of the Los Angeles Temple. I think that dedicatory prayers are remarkable documents and so inspired. This is from the Los Angeles Temple dedication. "We have felt thy presence, and in times of doubt and perplexity have hearkened unto thy voice. Here in thy holy house, in humility and deep gratitude we acknowledge thy divine guidance, thy protection and inspiration. If any with gloomy forebodings or heavy hearts enter, may they depart with their burdens lightened and their faith increased. If any have envy or bitterness in their hearts, may such feelings be replaced by self searching and forgiveness. May all who come within these sacred walls feel a peaceful hallowed influence."
The last experience I want to tell you about occurred just last December. I had been ridiculously busy, and hadn't had a chance even to think about Christmas gifts until the first week of December. And I went shopping one day with one of my daughters at which point I remembered that shopping is not that easy of a thing to do. I have eleven grandchildren, and I knew about it last December. When I got home from shopping I was just leveled because I thought I don't possibly have enough time left to think to buy the kinds of gifts I want to give. You know the kind of gifts that are just perfect for that person. That are just what they wanted, only they didn't even know they wanted it. And it will just be so useable that not just on Christmas Day will they open it and gasp with joy, but they will keep on using it and using it and using it through out the year. I saw the possibility that I would to be going through the mall pretty soon, buying anything, and I don't like that kind of gift giving. This occurred and I thought, boy, I have got to get busy. I have to focus in and do this. I have to really discipline myself. But then I realized the next morning I had planned to go to the temple with some friends. I had planned it a long time ago; it was on my calender. The idea of going to the temple right before Christmas had a lot of appeal to me. Anyway, it was a big debate--am I being responsible, or am I being spiritual--all of those kinds of things. I went to the temple.
I sat down and I looked at the name, and I don't think I will ever forget it. For one thing it is a beautiful name. Her name was Harriet Melissa Walker, and she was born on December 9, 163 years ago.
All the way through the session, I have never had an experience where I thought someone was with me, and I am not saying that Harriet was there with me. All the way through the session I just had a lightness of heart that Harriet was having her work done. When I finished and I walked out of the temple, I thought, "I have done the thing for Christmas that I should have done. This one is for you Harriet. I don't know how long you have been waiting for this, probably for over a hundred years. You will say, when you see this gift, 'It's just right; this is what I have always wanted. Only I knew I wanted it, and I will make use of it throughout all eternity.'" Because through that Christmas gift I had taken part in giving to Harriot, she was finally and completely woven into the covenant people. I felt that, and it was a wonderful moment where all of a sudden those eternities are important. What kinds of gifts really work and what kinds just go through the malls hoping they will work?
From the Los Angeles Temple dedication it says, "May all be assured who go to the temple that they have the gratitude of thousands, perhaps millions, on the other side. For whom the prison doors may now be opened and deliverance proclaimed to those who accept the truth and are set free."
I want to talk about these recommends for just a minute. Eligibility to go to the temple is a unique kind of thing. To those outside of the understanding that we have, they may think that it's like getting a degree in college that gives you the right to do something, a business license that gives you a right to set up a business. "Eligibility to go to the temple is based on consistent personal behavior, on the goodness of one's life. I stand in such awe of the economy of the Lord because he never, ever asks us to do something that only has one benefit. It seems like there are just multiple layers of benefits to everything."(President Hinckley, Ensign, May 1990.) As we meet the qualifications to get a temple recommend, those qualifications not only give us the ticket to walk in the door of the specific place, but even if we didn't get the ticket, our lives would be different. Everything about our lives would be different, and so he accomplishes multiple purposes. The things we do to receive a recommend also become the things we do to create a happy life. Each one carries within it its own blessing. For example, when we keep the Word of Wisdom, we enjoy the benefits of a health. Whether or not we walk inside the door of the temple, we protect ourselves from the terrible things that happen to those who do not obey the Word of Wisdom-the slavery, the loss of family and friends and livelihoods that can easily happen when people violate the Word of Wisdom and indulge in drugs and alcohol. Look at the example of morality. It has its own great rewards outside of entrance to the temple, doesn't it? Honesty, the payment of tithes, each of these things does so much more than qualify us to enter the building.
President Hunter, during his short term as the President of the Church, will be so remembered for his forceful and yet gentle way of urging us all to be worthy of holding a temple recommend whether we are able to attend the temple or not. Why would he do that? Because a recommend is much, much more that a ticket. Our worthiness brings light to every corner of our lives and helps keep Satan at bay. The things I do to get this protect me in very real and very significant ways from Satan.
Bishops have told me that of all the things that keep people from holding a temple recommend, it's often the payment of tithing. Very interesting, isn't it? And I want to talk about that for just for a moment, because the principle of tithing is so easy if you just learn to do it when you are young. It's apparently so absolutely difficult if you start to try it when you are older. I look at that and think that someone outside the church would say, "Oh really, the big thing about getting a recommend is just you pay money you get it." We who understand tithing don't feel that way at all. Has there ever been a time in the history of the world where there have been so many things that we all want? So many things that make our life more fun, and that are outdated immediately, and that cost money? I hate this electronic stuff. Every time you turn around you're outdated. And so it creates this need for more things, and that creates the need for money. Never before in the history of a country or of a people, has credit been so easy.
I have a daughter who is a college student who just got home from mission and didn't have a job yet, and somebody called her for a credit card. Somebody called to give her a credit card, and wanted to send her a credit card. And she said, "Oh, but I don't have a job." And they said, "Oh, well no problem. No problem, you don't have to have a job." And she said, "I don't think you're getting this. I don't have a job, I don't have any income, so what sense would it be to get a credit card?" The woman keep saying, "Oh, you don't have to be pre-approved or anything; we'll just send it to you." And there was this funny logic going on. My daughter thought the woman on the other line was saying whether you have a income or not makes no difference. Is that Satanic or what? It's Satan's really wonderful way of getting to you because the minute you've got credit card debt, or any other kind of pressing debt, do you know who doesn't come and hammer at your door, and throw you out of your apartment if you don't pay them? The Lord. So it's so much easier to let the tithing cover the credit card minimum so that you can keep charging, or so you can keep living.
If any of you are starting into that cycle, I just plead with you, don't do it. It may seem temporary to you, and maybe it is, but don't do it. Don't think that you need a stereo, CDs, televisions, that you need all those kinds of things to be part of the 1990s. You don't. But you really do need temple recommend worthiness and the habits that will allow you to go to the temple, anytime you want to.
Could I tell you what an incredible feeling it is to me to put my temple recommend in my pocket and anytime I want to I can drive right up to a temple, and park my car, and I can go in. To me that feels like what it must feel like to be the richest, wealthiest person in the world to say, "Oh, certainly anything I want I can have." That's the way I feel about my temple recommend; it's just this incredible feeling of wealth and abundance that anytime I want to, no matter what happens, I can walk into that temple. That's what I want for everyone of you. It may not be for you that tithing is a problem; it may be morality. Don't ever do anything that will keep you from always being able to have a recommend in your pocket and to experience that light. So that when you're my age, and you're older, you can just look down that road on a birthday, and you can see when it's all put together that there are just huge areas of light that filter out all the rest of your life.
I'd like to close with a quote from John A. Widtsoe. He said, "The power emanating from temples is far greater than we realize. Spiritual power is generated within temple walls and sent out to bless the world. Light from the house of the Lord enlightens every home within the church fitted for its reception by participation in temple privileges. Every home penetrated by the temple spirit enlightens, cheers and comforts every member of the household. The peace we covet is found in such homes. Indeed, when temples are on earth, the whole world shares measurably in the issuing light."
I pray that each one of you will add to that light as you go into temples and come out, that you'll have more light, and be more able to spread that light through the world.

© Intellectual Properties Inc.

Gospel Revolutionaries

24 Feb. 1999

Transcript

Gospel Revolutionaries

 
Thank you President Woodhouse. It is a blessing for me to be with you today. You look so alive, and I love to see young people and young faculty members who are alive also. This is a thrill for me. The choir was magnificent; thank you. We really appreciated the music and the sweet faces and the testimonies that radiate. It's a marvelous thing. I'm grateful to be here, and I bring you the greetings of the First Presidency of the Church. I know that President Hinckley, President Monson and President Faust if they could just come here for a few minutes would get a shot in the arm to keep going. I know that we all pray for them and the success of the Church and the administrations of the Gospel.
This is a special day because we are going to talk about some unusual things today that might give your minds some cartwheels and some imagination. I'm going to bring to bear some of the personal involvement that you will have at some point later on after I have gone over the points in my text today.
Some weeks ago, in a meeting with all the General Authorities in the Temple, Elder Rex Pinegar was called upon to bear his testimony. We have once a month a testimony meeting, and we take the sacrament--because generally speaking on the fast Sundays of the month we're usually at a stake conference somewhere. We don't often get the opportunity to participate in the sacrament in a regular ward setting. So at least once a month in the temple all the General Authorities locally based have sacrament meeting with the First Presidency and the Twelve, and we have a testimony part of the meeting. When Elder Pinegar was asked to bear his testimony he stood up and look at President Hinckley and said, "President Hinckley, I thought you'd like to know what the young people think of you." Well, that piqued President Hinckley's interest and he said, "Yes I would." Elder Pinegar said, "President, there was a young boy that stood up in testimony meeting the other day and he said, `I know that President Hinckley is inspired by revolution."
Well you know President Hinckley truly is a revolutionary. You can look at the word revolutionary in a number of ways with a number of facets; but if you examine the role of a revolutionary, it is someone who goes in a different direction, or someone who magnifies something that is idle or dormant, and someone who emphasizes or adds luster to something that is otherwise non-descript. If anybody in this world has ever been a revolutionary, it would be President Gordon B. Hinckley. Think about it--the Proclamation on the Family, which I'm sure all of you have. You probably all have it on the wall in your apartment or in your home. If you don't, you should get one--keep it in your scriptures. Who knows, someday it might be bound into the scriptures. It draws together all the succinct principles and teachings regarding parenting, our children, the home, the role of fathers and mothers and children, and the inter- relationship of the family--not only here on this earth and through the pre-existence, but through the eternities. It's a singular document which is so profound. It has the imprint of President Hinckley all over it. The Twelve prepared it, but he took it home and worked on it. It's his document basically.
For example--another example of a revolutionary--who would have thought that we would never have general conference in the tabernacle? Now that's being very brave. The tabernacle is something like the Holy of Holies--and to tell the Church that from now on, as soon as we get this new building built, we're going to have the general conference in the new building and not in the Holy of Holies tabernacle. Another evidence of the revolutionary spirit of President Hinckleyfor years the church has wrestled with how to get the members to the temple. The cost of a temple--to build it and to maintain it and administer the affairs of the templeis an expensive project. So we had to sort of ration them out around the world and large cities, but we have members all over the world. Every member of the Church deserves the opportunity to have blessings from the temple, the endowment and the sealing. I think as far back 1945--right at the end of World War II--the Church wrestled with and has wrestled with this. Well, could we build a temple on a ship and take it to port from port? No, because the temple has to be a fixed place. It needs to be there so people can go often. Could we put it on a plane and fly it around the world? Well, yes and no; we could do a lot of things. There was in ancient times a movable temple, but not today. And so finally this Prophet that we have today saw enough through the clouds and the haze the fog that's there, a way in which to take the temple to the people, and we are building these small temples now all over the world.
You probably saw in the Church News this last Saturday the announcement of the 100th temple, in Palmyra. I know something about that temple and that site because I used to be, until a few months ago, in charge of the Church's visitors centers. Palmayra has always been a difficult problem for us, because when Joseph Smith, Sr., homesteaded there--built that little log cabin where Joseph went from to have his first vision and where the Angel Moroni appeared to him--that little cabin had a foot path in front of it. That foot path became a road, and the road became a highway. When we finally found the cornerstones of that little cabin, they were literally on the pavement within inches of the pavement of the highway. Well, we wanted to memorialize that little cabin where all these wonderful events took place and from which Joseph left to go to woods to pray. But how can you build it when it would be right there on the road? We decided we would like to move the road. Well, you can't move the cabin because that's holy ground, but you can move the road.
We had a problem--the property that we needed to move the road was owned by a non-member and he was not very happy with us, because I think Satan had been coaching him a little bit. He was difficult to deal with, and for years and years and years he said, "Nothing doing; I'm not going sell my house and my property." But finally through the Lord's own due time--do you notice that in the scriptures even once in awhile? "For my own purposes," he says. We managed to talk to that fellow and he finally agreed to sell his house and his land. But on the condition we would build him a house, back in the woods up behind the white building that Alvin built for the familythat's the house that they call the Joseph Smith family home. Up behind there is a hill that rises up in the woods. He said, "I want the seclusion of the woods; I want to be back up there." We agreed. We agreed to build him a house, and he could live there the rest of his life at no cost.
We just about had the house finished. In about two months he was going to move into it. Well, the fellow went up to Canada on a snowmobiling trip. He ran right into a tree; he killed himself. He never did move into the new house. The property had all been signed over to us, and so we went ahead and tore down his house and took the road and arced it in behind the main focal point which is the cabin and the white house. We built the road. Then we built the cabin.
About a year ago this time President Hinckley dedicated that cabin. It doesn't sit on the road anymore; it's back off the road thirty or forty yards or so. When President Hinckley went to Palmyra last month he said, "You know, that house is in the wrong place (the new house.) That's where the temple is suppose to go." He said, "we'll pick up the house and we'll move it, and that's where we are going to build our temple." Well, think of it. The fellow was so difficult to deal with to get him to move to the house--he didn't move; he didn't have to. But had he been in the house, after all that we've been through, with a lifetime guarantee (he's a young man) we could have waited another twenty to thirty years before we could build a temple there, if that's where the temple is supposed to go. President Hinckley said it is. Well, strange things happen.
Who else but President Gordon B. Hinckley would had have so much public exposure on national television with the Mike Wallace Show and the Larry King Show? And who would have done a better job? You know people all over the world have listed to President Hinckley via television and satellite. In fact, Mike Wallace has become a devotee to President Hinckley. When he spoke at Madison Square Gardens back a couple of months ago, who was in the audience singing the songs of Zion but contankerous, gnarly old Mike Wallace. He loves President Hinckley. And wasn't it great when Larry King closed out his show the other night, "We've been talking to President Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Prophet." Think about it; he truly is a revolutionary.
Let's go to another revolutionary, Brigham Young. Now he lived a long time ago--he's been dead for over one hundred years, one hundred and twenty years. He truly was a revolutionary. I could spend all day talking about the accomplishments of Brigham Young. He led the Church during the flight out of Missouri, as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve. Well, he wasn't President at that point, but he was the one who Joseph was communicating with. When the Saints were scattered all across Missouri the winter of 1838, when Joseph was confined in the jail at Libertysaints scattered everywherewho was helping to keep things under control? Brigham Young. In 1840 he became the President of the Quorum of the Twelve. In eighteen Forty-four was the death of the Prophet Joseph and from that point on Brigham Young, when he was 43 years old, had to take over the reigns of the Church as President Quorum of the Twelve. In eighteen forty-seven, he became the president of the church--after he had brought the vangaurd out to Utah the summer of 1847, went back to winter quarters, and while at winter quarters in the fall of 1847 became the President of the Church.
If you could list the accomplishment of Brigham Young, you would spend hours writing them down. Just off the top of my head: He established the territory of Deseret. He was a Temple builder--Salt Lake Temple (well that wasn't finished in his time, but he certainly started the footings and work of it, the design of it), Manti, St. George, Logan Temples. He established businesses and agriculture, irrigation systems, railroad systems and banks. He built beautiful tabernacles in the Wastach Front area. We have this one here in Salt Lake City, but go up and down this area--some of the beautiful tabernacles in Bountiful, go clear on up to Bear Lake areabeautiful architecture. He was a colonizer of hundreds of towns, villages, and cities--hundreds. In fact, if you were to take the imprint of Brigham Young and put the hub of a wheel inside of Salt Lake City, the spokes of that wheel and the multiple of spokes would fan throughout all the western part of the United States.
No other American colonizer achieved more during his tenure than Brigham Young, no other. We've had presidents of the United States, we've had explorers--the Lewis and Clark group and so on--but when it comes to colonizing the United Sates, no person even comes close to Brigham Young. He established the University of Utah (what was University of Deseret became University of Utah), Brigham Young Academy, Brigham Young University. The list goes on and on; he truly was a revolutionary in the broadest sense and even in the narrowest sense.
Listen to this. When he died the Salt Lake Tribune had an editorial about him--interesting editorial. It starts out, "Thus closed the most eventful day in the annuls of the territory. The Mormon Church was stronger at 4:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon [which was the time Brigham Young died] than it ever will again become." Interesting. "The remarkable will and organizing force of the dead leader departed with him and have been transmitted to none other in his Church. We may now watch with complacency, if not with joy, the gradual disintegration of the whole Mormon fabric." Imagine that, supposedly by a respected newspaper. The disintegration of the whole Mormon fabric. Well, you can tell they are not prophets.
Let's go to another revolutionary, Joseph Smith Jr. My, what he accomplished in his time. Joseph Smith, Jr. at a very young age--fourteen plus something months--went into a grove of woods and prayed. When he came out he told his family and others that he had spoken with God and his Son Jesus Christ. That was the beginning of his entire revolution.
What came from that vision is what you see today in the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Think about it. Theologians and scholars, clergy and otherwise for centuries have been trying to decide or understand or describe God the Father and the Son Jesus Christ. They got it all mixed up because they were blindfolded spiritually and physically in a way, because they came out with some of these concoctions of doctrine that God and the Son and the Holy Ghost are all sort of mysteriously one person, and that you can't really understand God because he is a mystery. He is some immovable force that cannot necesarily be seen. Yet Joseph after just a brief interlude in the woods knew more about God and Jesus Christ than all other human beings here on earth--a fourteen-year-old boy. When he told the ministers of the day about his vision, he was laughed and scorned at because God was not supposed to speak to us anymore. God was silent. In a sense, they were really saying God is a preferential God. He does not speak to children today. He has done his turn and now it is up to you to just figure it out.
Then you go from that vision to other Heavenly manifestations. First came the angel Moroni, then John the Baptist, and then Peter, James, and John, and later on after the Kirkland Temple was built, Moses, Elijah. Elijah brought the keys of the sealing ordinances and endowment, the keys of the temple. Not only did Joseph Smith see heavenly messengers, but within his lifetime he then helped to establish the only true and living church, a church which was told to come out of obscurity and out of darkness.
He brought forth the priesthood--not that he originated it, but it was restored to him-- both the Aaronic and the Melchizedek Priesthoods, through which flows all empowerment of the doctrines, principles, ordinances, covenants, and blessings. For without the Priesthood nothing works in the kingdom of God. All of our covenants, all of our ordinances, all of our endowments and sealings have no effect are without power in the eternities were not for two thingswere it not for the atoning sacrifice of the Savior and the priesthood which he restored here upon the earth to officiate in those ordinances and covenants, all of which were then brought through the restoration of the Gospel.
Joseph Smith gave us the ordinances and sealings, the endowment for the temple. The Church of Jesus Christ was restored in its fullness through the prophet Joseph Smith. The translation of a miraculous document, ancient scripture buried in a hill, came through the prophet Joseph Smith. That alone--take away everything else--that alone, signifies him as a revolutionary. Because it is the only other scriptural text that is of ancient origin--other than some translations that Joseph Smith did of ancient papyri--but as an entire saga and book it chronicles a life and a people, and it testifies of the divinity of Jesus Christ.
When Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, he brought forth not only a book, but a miracle. It is estimated that it took the King James scholars that produced the King James Version of the Bible in the 1500s--it is estimated that it took 57 scholars seven years to produce the King James Version of the Bible. Joseph Smith translated the ancient writings of the Book of Mormon plates in approximately 63 working days.
Today when we translate from the English text of the Book of Mormon into let's say Albanian it takes our scholars about a page a day to get as good as work as we can get from them. It takes them a whole day to do a page. They have been trained in languages. They have computers and word processors and lexicons. They have scholars to talk to. There are documents that they can refer to, there are periodicals, and so on. They have been at the university for many years.
Joseph, on the other hand, had maybe three years of elementary education. There were no computers, no dictionaries; he had never been to ancient Israel, nor had he been to Central South America. He knew nothing of the writings of the Nephites and the Lamanites, and so on--had no knowledge of it. Not only that, but the text of the Book of Mormon was written in a funny hand called reformed Egyptian. And yet, with all of that, as well as being hounded and persecuted and having the responsibility of restoring the church and the priesthood and all of those things, he translated miraculously the Book of Mormon in approximately 63 days. He was doing ten to twelve pages a day. Oliver said he could leave off in the middle of a sentence and come back the next day and pick up the next word, and continue it on. We don't know a whole lot about the exact process of the translation, but you only could describe it as divine intervention from God.
In addition to the Book of Mormon came many, many doctrinal revelations as well as translating the Bible to some extent, and as I mentioned, ancient papyri which appear now in the Pearl of Great Price. Incredible. What a Man! What a revolutionary. Heavenly messengers, God the Father and his son Jesus Christ, and many others, which in my opinion makes him a revolutionary.
And finally, let's go to the greatest revolutionary of them all, even Jesus Christ. When he came upon the earth he didn't come with pomp and circumstance, but he was born in a lowly manger. An obscure and unkingly birth, in the sense that he accepted to be born in the earth in a unique, synergistic form in a way. He was born of both a heavenly father and an earthly mother. He was born out in the open, or we would call it a stable or a manger--but there is some information that he was born actually in a corral, surrounded by resting places but where the animals are put together for the night, in an enclosure under the stars amongst the animals and the humans and yes, even the wastes of the animalssignifying that he was as common as any earthly human being could be. He had understanding for all of us. I don't know how many of you have been raised on a farm; I was. I have been amongst the animals. Actually, new straw in a milking parlor of a barn is about the sweetest smell as you could imagine. You would think that the animals would have an interesting odor to them, but when you put down new straw, it has a sweet fragrance to it.
Then, to go on with his life, his teachings, his travels, his doctrine, and of course the greatest of all, his atoning sacrifice; was that not revolutionary? The world, teachings of man, even religious doctrines of the day, could not compare--nor do they even today come close--to the teachings and the miraculous event of the Atonement. In all of scripture, and in all of history, the crowning story of his life was his Atonement which provides eternal life and the opportunity for exaltation, for all of those who will come forward, keep his commandments, and serve him.
Let me just check off some of the things that he did: He tried to teach Peter how to walk on the water. He healed the cripple at the Pool of the Bethesda. His healing power was so great that by touching his robe the Daughter of Jarus was healed. He gave sight to the blind. He comforted Martha and Mary and went to the tomb of Lazarus after he had been dead for days and said, "Lazarus, come forth." And Lazarus came forth still wrapped in the burial garb. He taught, render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's but unto God the things that are God's. He taught that the greatest commandment was to love the Lord thy God with all of thy heart, might, mind and strength; and the second is like unto it, "thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." He was betrayed by his own apostles. He suffered the agony of a sinful world in the Garden of Gethsemane and shed great drops of blood from every pore because of his love and concern for us. He drug his heavy cross up the hill of Golgotha while his head had been crowned with plated thorns. Yet on the cross he pled, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." He died to ransom our souls with the Father.
Miraculously after three days he rose from the tomb and completed his fore-ordained calling as the Savior of the World, the Atoning One, the Resurrected Christ. He appeared to many, taught many, and even appeared to another people, and perhaps more, and manifested his doctrines and teachings to them. In all of history, in all of human endeavors here upon the Earth, in all of the glory that has come to man, none compares to the life and the death and the resurrection of the Savior Jesus Christ. He truly was a revolutionary.
Now, finally, the students that are here today and at your collegeare you a revolutionary? In the sincerest sense of the word, I hope you are. The world is going in a direction which you and I dare not even mimic. When you consider the events that are whirling around us, virtually out of control--the filth, the pornography, the weakening of moral standards--I hope that you resolve in your youth to be a revolutionary, and that is to go the other way. Remember the poem The Road Not Taken-- you need to take the path less traveled because it needs wear. You need to trod the path of the saint of the latter days to rise above the sins and blood of this generation.
The first time you take a cigarette, you don't know whether you will be addicted to tobacco; it has terrible addicting powers in it. Generally speaking, those who move into drugs started with cigarettes. Therefore, you must never--and I emphasize the word to be a revolutionary in this day and age--never even touch a cigarette.
In addition, you must never do any drugs of any kind, no matter what the condition is, the circumstances. The only kinds of drugs or medication that you are allowed to use are those prescribed by a competent physician. Otherwise, the kinds of LSDs and things that are floating around, the labs that are set up in this city alone would scare you if you knew how many people are involved in methamphetamines in this city.
We are one of the worst cities in the country, even though we aren't that big, but for some reason we have been targeted and the material is floating around like you can't believe. Alcohol--can you imagine? Can you possibly stretch your mind to imagine the destructive effects of alcohol? Whole fortunes have been lost through alcohol. Many, many millions of lives have been terminated by alcohol. Twenty-five percent of the deaths of teenagers in the country today are alcohol-car accident related, twenty-five percent of the teenage deaths--not to mention the torn up families, the abused lives.
Some years ago I built a large recycling plant in Denver, one of my business projects, with some colleagues of mine. We told the staff to be on their toes because at a recycling plant we bring in large bins that you see in construction areas and industrial areas. They put them up on the back of truck. They can roll them up there and they call them a roll off. They are parked so that all of this debris can be put in there.
We had this huge facility where we could pull in eight to ten of those trucks at any given time, breast to breast and off loadwaste material from the industrial area of Denver. We told our staff to be careful because on occasion a dead body would roll out of one of those bins. You see what happens in the drug world if you can't pay the bill? You're dead just like that. An easy way to get rid of a drug body is just to throw it in one of those bins. Or, unfortunately, those poor souls that have been addicted--overdosed themselves--don't realize it, but they climb in one of those bins to take a nap and die from overdosing.
Now what the drug people don't tell you is that is the end of the line. The cigarette, or the alcohol, or the drug, is the beginning of the line. There is an old saying, "When you pick up one end of the stick, you pick up the other." You don't see the cigarette companies advertising a poor, emaciated burned-out mind and body rolling at the back end of a roll-off bin. But that's what happens to many of thousands of people in the country today.
I don't know how many, many people will overdose themselves across this country. I don't know how many young women and young men will give away their chastity and virtue to the influence of alcohol and drugs today. But you and I must be revolutionaries. We must withstand the temptation to be immoral. It's ever present. Your body is built with certain hormones and genes. There is a certain amount of enthusiam going on inside your inner psyche. The minute you succumb to anything immoral, you start the road to deep sin, terrible sin. You must be a revolutionary because it's ever present out there, in the media, in the films, in the newspapers, in the magazines, it's all there. It's a sex-oriented society.
Let me just close by challenging you revolutionaries to two words. First word, "never." Never use alcohol. If you never use alcohol, you will never have a problem with it. Never use tobacco or illicit drugs. Never allow yourself to be handled by someone else.
I use an example. Let's have a male who likes to play baseball come up. Will you please show the students where the strike zone is in baseball? From your chest down to your knees. O.K.
I'm going to show you the Mormon strike zone. The Mormon strike zone is from your shoulders to your knees. You revolutionaries--no one, no one, no one, touches your strike zone. Any questions? Thank you. I mean that. No one touches your strike zone, not even you inappropriately.
You see when you've got "never" and you understand what that means, and you understand that, you have power inside your own self. That's more powerful than any army or any government. It's when you are in control. Men are to act and not be acted upon. So by using that word "never" you have power. When people want to tempt you, or thoughts want to tempt you, you're in control because you just say, "never." Someone asks you to do drugs, or have a cigarette, or tobacco. You just say "never." That's even more than "no", isn't it? That's punching them right in the nose. Never.
But now if you have made a mistake, you can add one word to that word never to get the power back. What's that word? Never "again." You see, when you have made a mistake, you've lost the power. You hate yourself. You repent. You try to get back into control and through the process of proper repentance, which means never doing it again. Back comes the power. You've cleaned the slate; you've done the repentance--whatever is required--and now you are back into control. You are a revolutionary because the world is going in one direction and you are not going to go in that direction.
May God bless you, so that at the end of your day the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-great grandchildren will say of you, "He or she was a revolutionary, inspired by revolution." I testify that the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us and gives us the tools to withstand the buffetings of Satan so that we can rise above the difficulties that face us all in this life.
Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the World. He is our King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

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