One of the most powerful sources of personal development will come through the urgent prayers you offer in faith for a foundation of righteousness. You will learn much as feelings distill in your mind and heart. Avoid prayers that appear to be a set of instructions to the Lord--do this, bless that, change this, help me with that. Rather, be a compliant student to the Ultimate Teacher. He wants you to succeed even more than you do yourself.
This is a time to set your course for life, a time to establish fundamental priorities. One of the challenges of your learning experience here is to be able to differentiate among the smorgasbord of good and bad things that can be done and to select those that are righteous and truly essential.
I know that each one of you faces overwhelming challenges. Sometimes they are so concentrated, so unrelenting, that you may feel they are beyond your capacity to control.
Don’t face the world alone. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5.)
In many ways, the world is like a jungle, with dangers that can har
m or mutilate your body, enslave or destroy your mind, or decimate your morality. It was intended that life be a challenge, not so that you would fail, but that you might succeed through overcoming. You face on every hand difficult but vitally important decisions. There is an array of temptations, destructive influences, and camouflaged dangers, the like of which no previous generation has faced. I am persuaded that today no one, no matter how gifted, strong, or intelligent, will avoid serious problems without seeking the help of the Lord.
I repeat: Don’t face the world alone. Trust in the Lord.
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.
When the time comes that the Lord says, "Arise, and to your tents, O Israel;" then men must be pure inside and out; they must be for God, or they will have no part in the blessings conferred upon the righteous. We sometimes talk about cutting men off from the Church. Now, I want to know what is the use of retaining dead limbs upon a tree. If such limbs are allowed to continue, they impart death to the branches.