“Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, July 1998, 2
“We can make great strides in the direction of perfection in our personal behavior. We can be perfect in our prayers to our Father in Heaven. There are some things in which it is very difficult to be perfect, but I hope that everyone here, every man and woman and boy and girl, will get on his or her knees night and morning and thank the Lord for His blessings, thank the Lord for His kindness, thank the Lord for every gift that He has given, and pray for strength to do the right thing and remember before the Lord all who are in need and distress. We can be perfect in our prayers, my brothers and sisters” (Port Harcourt, Nigeria, regional conference, 15 Feb. 1998).
“‘Be not faithless, but believing’ (John 20:27). In what shall we believe? In the first place, we shall believe in God our Eternal Father. He is the Father of each of us. He is the ruler and governor of the entire universe, and yet somehow He can hear us when we pray. What a marvelous thing that is, that the God of Heaven will hear your prayers and my prayers. We are His children.
“Be not faithless, but believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the great Creator, who condescended to come to earth and walk among men and be abused and persecuted and crucified unto death. But He arose the third day and stands at the side of His Father, the Living Son of the Living God, to pour out His blessing upon each of us.
“Be not faithless, but believing in the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith, who had the greatest vision that has occurred in all this modern world, when God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son appeared to him and parted the curtains to usher in the dispensation of the fulness of times.
“Be not faithless, but believing in this sacred book which we call the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ. It was said of old, it was said by the Savior, that in the mouths of two or more witnesses shall all things be established. Here is the Bible, one witness. Here is the Book of Mormon, the other witness. They go hand in hand testifying of these things which we have spoken.
“Believe in the truth and divinity and be not faithless concerning The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Lord declared it to be ‘the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth’ with which He was pleased (D&C 1:30). That is not my statement. That is the statement of the Lord himself. A minister once said to me, ‘Aren’t you very arrogant to make a statement concerning such magnitude as that?’ I said, ‘I didn’t say it. The Lord said it, and because He said it, I believe it is true.’
“Believe in yourself, my brothers and sisters. You are a child of God. You do have something of divinity within you. Believe in your capacity to do great and good things. We have these missionaries here tonight. I suppose when they were called to the Mérida mission they had no idea where it was. They had to go to the library and get an atlas and look it up. Now they think this is the greatest place on the face of the earth, and the greatest people” (meeting, Cancún, Mexico, 13 Nov. 1997).
“Every convert who comes into this Church should have an immediate responsibility. It may be ever so small, but it will spell the difference in his life. … I cannot understand why converts aren’t given more responsibility immediately when they come into the Church. The tendency is to say, ‘They don’t know enough.’ Well, take a chance on them. Think of what a chance the Lord has taken on you. Give them something to do, be it ever so small, something that’s specific and by which they will grow. A testimony is like your arm: as you use it, it grows strong. Put it in a sling, it atrophies and grows weak and useless. You will not develop people in this Church unless you give them responsibility” (BYU married students’ regional conference, priesthood leadership meeting, Provo, Utah, 10 Feb. 1996).
“Now, I’d like to say just a word to the young people here, you who are in your teens, you wonderful hope of the future, you faithful young Latter-day Saints, you who attend seminary and go to institute, you who are the best generation we have ever had in this Church: Be faithful. Be true. Don’t let yourselves fall into evil ways. Take advantage of your great opportunities. Get all of the education you can possibly get. Education is the key which will unlock the door of opportunity, and the Lord has laid upon you the responsibility to secure an education. Don’t let yourselves become involved in evil things. Watch your language. Don’t profane the name of Deity. Don’t play around with pornography. It can destroy you. Don’t get involved in drugs of any kind. They can destroy you. You walk your way, praying to the Lord to give you strength to move forward, and God will bless you, and your lives that lie ahead of you will be sweet and happy and wonderful. God bless you” (meeting, Mexico City, Mexico, 9 Nov. 1997).
“Tithing is not a matter of money so much as it is a matter of faith. We take the Lord at His word, and it is my testimony that He keeps His word. It is He who made the promise. That is not my promise. It is His promise that He will open the windows of heaven and pour down blessings upon you which you will not have room enough to receive” (fireside, Bogotá, Colombia, 8 Nov. 1996).
“I encourage you, my dear friends, to speak up for moral standards in a world where filth, sleaze, pornography, and their whole evil brood are sweeping over us as a flood. In the first place, none of us can afford to be partakers of this rubbish. Not one of us, neither I nor any one of you, can become involved with such things as sleazy videotapes, suggestive television programs, debasing movies, sensual magazines, so-called 900 numbers, or the kind of filth that evidently can be picked up now on the Internet. Avoid them like the plague, for they are a serious and deadly disease.
“Lend your strength to the crusade against illegal drugs. Their use, particularly among youth, has doubled in the last four years. Where are we going? Lives are blighted, careers are destroyed, even the next generation is injured, in many cases beyond repair, when young people take up drugs and develop an addiction.
“You can reach out to prevent a foolhardy decision on the part of a boy or girl. Your interest, your caring attitude, and your voice may make the difference between life and death in a very literal sense.
“Stand up for integrity in your business, in your profession, in your home, in the society of which you are a part.
“Again, it is not enough that you retreat to your private cloister and pursue only your special private interests. Your strong voice is needed. The weight of your stance may be enough to tip the scales in the direction of truth” (Brigham Young University devotional, Marriott Center, 17 Sept. 1996).
“How do we know the things of the Spirit? How do we know that it is from God? By the fruits of it. If it leads to growth and development, if it leads to faith and testimony, if it leads to a better way of doing things, if it leads to godliness, then it is of God. If it tears us down, if it brings us into darkness, if it confuses us and worries us, if it leads to faithlessness, then it is of the devil” (Jordan Utah South regional conference, 2 Mar. 1997).
“I have here my temple recommend. To me, it is a very precious and wonderful thing. I urge each one of you who is an adult in this Church to go to your bishop and get a temple recommend and carry it in your pocket and look upon it and think what it means. It says, ‘I have been to my bishop. I have been to my stake president. They have interviewed me, and they have found me worthy as a member of this Church. I have a testimony of its truths. I sustain its officers. I am kind and dear to my family. I live the Word of Wisdom. I pay my tithing, and I am proud to be a faithful member of the Church.’ Brethren and sisters, get a temple recommend and let it influence your behavior as a member of this Church” (meeting, Guadalajara, Mexico, 10 Mar. 1998).
“We will continue to grow. We will take care of our people. Our organization is such that it can adjust flexibly to all the growth the Church has. I am very optimistic. I know we will go forward. I have absolute confidence in that. We are on a very solid foundation” (question and answer session following address to Los Angeles World Affairs Council, 6 Mar. 1997).
Some Points of Emphasis
You may wish to make these points in your home teaching discussions:
“And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost,” the Lord has said concerning that which his servants speak, “shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation” (D&C 68:4).
Prayerfully select from among the excerpts printed here those that would strengthen and bless the individuals and families you home teach.
Relate your feelings about living in a time when the Lord has prophets, seers, and revelators again on earth.
Are there some scriptures or quotations in this article that the family might read aloud and discuss?
Would this discussion be better after a previsit chat with the head of the house? Is there a message from the bishop or quorum leader?