You are children of promise. I hope that you do not plan to be just common but that you plan to excel. There is no place in this world for mediocrity; we need to strive for perfection. You can obtain perfection in so many areas as you seek and work toward the goals you have established.
Promise is duty.
In the meantime, do not wait for someone else to make your life complete. Stop second-guessing yourself and wondering if you are defective. Instead, seek to reach your potential as a child of God. Seek learning. Become engaged in a meaningful career, and seek fulfillment in service to others. Use your time, your talents, and your resources to improve yourself and bless those around you. All of this is part of your preparation for having a family. Immerse yourself in your ward or branch and seek to magnify your callings, no matter what they may be.
The great purpose of this mortal existence is to learn to fully love our Heavenly Father and our neighbor as ourselves. If we do this with all our might, mind, and strength, our eternal destiny will be glorious and grand beyond our capacity to imagine. Be faithful, and things will work out for you. That is His eternal promise to all who love and honor Him.
I would like to conclude by saying to you here today, you young men and women who are in this great congregation, this is your lot. Oh, you are all together here now. You are all of one kind; you are all of one mind. But you are training to go out into the world where you are not going to have about you ten thousand, twenty thousand, twenty-five thousand others like you. You will feel the loneliness of your faith.
It is not easy, for instance, to be virtuous when all about you there are those who scoff at virtue.
It is not easy to be honest when all about you there are those who are interested only in making “a fast buck.”
It is not always easy to be temperate when all about you there are those who scoff at sobriety.
It is not easy to be industrious when all about you there are those who do not believe in the value of work.
It is not easy to be a man of integrity when all about you there are those who will forsake principle for expediency.
The Peace of the Spirit
I would like to say to you here today, my brethren and sisters, there is loneliness—but a man of your kind has to live with his conscience. A man has to live with his principles. A man has to live with his convictions. A man has to live with his testimony. Unless he does so, he is miserable—dreadfully miserable. And while there may be thorns, while there may be disappointment, while there may be trouble and travail, heartache and heartbreak, and desperate loneliness, there will be peace and comfort and strength.
A Promise and a Blessing
I like these great words of the Lord given to those who would go out and teach this gospel:
I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up. [D&C 84:88]
We must never make a promise or covenant we do not intend to keep. If we can't make the larger ones, then we should begin by making the smaller ones. But we must begin somewhere to conquer temptations and unworthy habits.
I think most of us need to start with acquiring control over our body. We know in our minds what we need to do. Our problem is not a lack of knowledge - it is a habit. The body is sacred. It is the house in which the spirit lives. Paul, the apostle, called it a temple.
To do that which before us lies in daily life is the prime wisdom.” “He that loseth wealth, loseth much; he that loseth friends loseth more; but he that loseth his spirit, loseth all.” (Cervantes.) “Dream, oh youth! If we fall into the habit of making resolves in relation to ourselves, and of constantly breaking them, such a course will tend to make us careless in the fulfillment of promises to others.
Keeping some commandments has greater power to build your foundation on truth and light. You could think of those as enabling commandments, because they build your power to keep other commandments. Whatever invites the Holy Ghost to be your companion will bring you greater wisdom and greater ability to obey God. For instance, you are promised that if you always remember the Savior, you will have His Spirit to be with you. You are commanded to pray that you may have the Holy Ghost. You are commanded to pray that you might not be overcome by temptation and so be clean and worthy of the Holy Spirit. You are commanded to study the word of God that you may have His Spirit. I would not set one commandment above another, but I might put some earlier in my efforts if they carry with them the promise of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. The Comforter will lead us to truth and light and will help us obey our Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son. We will come to love Them and those around us as we serve Them, and thus we will keep the great commandments.
This is a tremendously vital and important thing—we encourage it and we urge it upon all people who desire to progress and have enlightenment and advancement in their lives.
But my suggestion is that we need to devote an increasingly large portion of our time in the actual pursuit of knowledge in the spiritual realm. When we deal with spiritual realities, we are not talking about gaining something by reason alone, we are not talking about conveying in some way knowledge to the mind or the spirit that is within us through the senses alone, but we are talking about revelation. We are talking about learning how to come to a knowledge of the things of God by attuning the spirit that we have to the eternal Spirit of God. Such a course, primarily, is the channel and way that revelation comes to an individual.
It does not concern me very much that somebody writes or evaluates or analyzes either a doctrinal or a Church problem of any sort when he does it from the standpoint of the intellect alone. No one questions that everything in the spiritual realm is in total and complete accord with the intellectual realities that we arrive at through reason, but when the two are compared and evaluated and weighed as to their relative merits, the things that are important are in the spiritual realm and not the intellectual. The things of God are known only by the Spirit of God.
It is true that you can reason about doctrinal matters, but you do not get religion into your life until it becomes a matter of personal experience—until you feel something in your soul, until there has been a change made in your heart, until you become a new creature of the Holy Ghost. Providentially, every member of the Church has the opportunity to do this because, in connection with baptism, every member of the Church has the hands of a legal administrator placed on his head, and he is given the promise, “Receive the Holy Ghost.” He thus obtains “the gift of the Holy Ghost” which, by definition, means that he then has the right to the constant companionship of this member of the Godhead, based upon his personal righteousness and faithfulness.