“Fireside Counsel: Be Faithful, Clean, Strong in Prayer,” Ensign, Sept. 1985, 72
Young adults and other single Latter-day Saints throughout the United States and Canada were counseled to be true to their faith, stay morally clean, and learn the power of prayer during a special fireside June 23.
The fireside, broadcast via satellite from Temple Square, featured talks by President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency; Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Council of the Twelve; and Joanne B. Doxey, second counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency.
The fireside also included three video presentations in which young adults discussed their concerns about morality, prayer, and making decisions.
“My dear young friends,” President Hinckley said, “from the beginning of this work there has been opposition. There have been apostates. There have been scholars, some with balance and others with an axe to grind, who have raked over every bit of evidence available concerning Joseph Smith, the prophet of this dispensation. I plead with you, do not let yourselves be numbered among the critics, among the dissidents, among the apostates.”
He discussed two recently discovered letters—one purportedly written by Joseph Smith to Josiah Stowell in 1825, the other by Martin Harris to W. W. Phelps in 1830. “Assuming that [the letters] are authentic,” he said, “they are valuable writings of the period out of which they have come, but they have no real relevancy to the question of the authenticity of the Church or of the divine origin of the Book of Mormon.”
He urged any who have been troubled by press reports about the Martin Harris letter to “look deeper to the man who presumably wrote it and to the man who presumably received it—Martin Harris and W. W. Phelps.” He cited Martin Harris’ testimony as one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon, for which he endured poverty and persecution, dying “in full faith” at ninety-two. Brother Phelps also bore a strong testimony and lived a life of service in the Church. President Hinckley asked: “Would these two men have so … lived out their years in faith had there been any doubt about the way in which the Book of Mormon plates were received?”
President Hinckley also spoke briefly about the decisions his audience would face in life. “I can promise you that if you will make your decisions according to the standards of the gospel and the teachings of the Church, and if you will keep the faith, your lives will be fruitful of great good and you will know much of happiness and accomplishment.” (For the full text of President Hinckley’s address, see the “First Presidency Message,” on page 2.)
Speaking about morality, Elder Maxwell said that adultery “or anything like unto it” isolates the individual from God, from others, and from himself. “Diminished moral cleanliness,” he said, “means diminished service to mankind, because uncleanliness dulls the tastebuds of the soul and renders us less sensitive to others, to the beauties of life, and certainly to the promptings of the Spirit.
“Sexual immorality,” he continued, “is not only wrong itself, but, as few things do, it nurtures the deadly virus of selfishness.” To overcome the challenge of immorality in society today, Elder Maxwell suggested making decisions once—and only once. “Reprocessing the same temptation again and again is both unnecessary and unwise. … Knowing beforehand how we are determined to respond to temptation is vital,” he said.
Sister Doxey spoke about prayer. “We may have already discovered some truths about praying,” she said. “And yet, we desire a more perfect understanding of how to receive answers. Often we want concrete answers or a ‘quantitative analysis’ of what to pray for, how long to pray, and when to pray.”
Citing the example of the Brother of Jared, she encouraged the young adults to prepare themselves to receive answers to prayers. “You cannot afford to be casual in your communications with him who will be your guide and stay,” she said. “Don’t wait to establish the practice of speaking intimately with the Lord. … Only God knows our individual possibilities and limitations. He blesses us according to his plan for us, consistent with our need to grow. We must be sensitive to the whisperings of the Spirit, which often come in unexpected ways.”