"If 20 pounds overweight is your standard, you will be 20 pounds overweight."
I understand that, at times, some may wonder why they attend Church meetings or why it is so important to read the scriptures regularly or pray to our Heavenly Father daily. Here is my answer: You do these things because they are part of God’s path for you. And that path will take you to your “happily ever after” destination.
“Happily ever after” is not something found only in fairy tales. You can have it! It is available for you! But you must follow your Heavenly Father’s map.
Sisters, please embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ! Learn to love your Heavenly Father with all your heart, might, and mind. Fill your souls with virtue, and love goodness. Always strive to bring out the best in yourself and others.
Learn to accept and act upon the Young Women values. Live the standards in For the Strength of Youth. These standards guide and direct you to your “happily ever after.” Living these standards will prepare you to make sacred covenants in the temple and establish your own legacy of goodness in your individual circumstances. “Stand . . . in holy places, and be not moved,” regardless of temptations or difficulties. I promise you that future generations will be grateful for you and praise your name for your courage and faithfulness during this crucial time of your life.
My dear young sisters—you who stand for truth and righteousness, you who seek goodness, you who have entered the waters of baptism and walk in the ways of the Lord—our Father in Heaven has promised that you will “mount up with wings as eagles; [you] shall run, and not be weary; and [you] shall walk, and not faint.” You “shall not be deceived.” God will bless and prosper you. “The gates of hell shall not prevail against you; . . . and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.”
Sisters, we love you. We pray for you. Be strong and of good courage. You are truly royal spirit daughters of Almighty God. You are princesses, destined to become queens. Your own wondrous story has already begun. Your “once upon a time” is now.
You have observed how some of your friends try to live a double standard of life. They want to appear to their parents and church leaders as though they are doing the right things, but secretly they do otherwise. They may have moments of excitement they consider pleasure, but they can never be at peace or truly happy. They fight against themselves internally and run the risk of destroying mind and body.
When you are alone with your friends, talk about doing good and being good. The feelings you will have, the promptings that will come to you, will powerfully motivate you for good. Those who do wrong and scheme to get away with it will never know such feelings. If you don’t feel comfortable with the thought of discussing good with your friends, they are not your friends. Change them.
If our definition or concept of ourself comes from what others think of us, we will find ourselves gearing our lives to their wants and their expectations; and the more we live in terms of what others expect of us, the more insecure we become. Expectations change. Opinion is fickle. One person or one group may expect certain things while another individual or group expects other things. Which should you please? The teen-age son may desire to please both his parents and the peer group to which he seeks belonging, but they demand different things; they hold different standards. If he is true to one, he us untrue to the other; but if he learns to pretend or to put on appearances, he might be able to get by, so he thinks. However, in the long run he discovers that by trying to become "all things to all people," he eventually is discovered for what he is, and he loses the respect of others as well as of himself. The only sure anchor to personal security is in God and in God's definition of man.
As in all things, we have the example of the Savior on the cross at Calvary. He did something that he was not forced to do—something which would benefit others with the gift of immortality which Jesus already had. His was the supreme act of selflessness.
You may recall reading in 3 Nephi about the visit of the resurrected Jesus to this continent and how after blessing the children he wept twice and he also said, “And now behold, my joy is full” (3 Ne. 17:20).
True joy can only come from giving ourselves to correct causes such as the building up of the kingdom, causes that are in a sense larger than we are. Pleasure tends to be self-centered. True joy always includes others.
Now is the time to set your life’s goals. Now is the time to set your standards firmly and then hold to them throughout your life.
Those who have succumbed to this kind of personal disaster often find that the balance in their lives becomes somewhat tilted and uneven. Many people expend far too much precious energy in protesting the rules. Since they did not make the rules, some feel that they should not be restricted by them. Others make a game of testing the fences to see what they can get away with. Some think that by breaking the rules they somehow become stronger or independent. Those who fight the rules spend much time and energy trying to express independence in their quest to find identity. And having traveled far down this road, they find that this is not the road to freedom but to slavery.
Talents, gifts of expression, and precious time are exhausted in swimming against too many tides. I have no hesitancy in suggesting that young men can learn to express themselves better through excellence in the classroom or on the playing field than in gangs or in immoral behavior. Young women can obtain a better identity and receive better notice through academic excellence and artistic expression than through immodesty of dress.
There are times when each of us has to have some gumption to take a stand as to what we wish to preserve or change in order to maintain our self-respect and not be as “a reed shaken with the wind” (Matt. 11:7). We need to take our great stands in life on moral issues and not kick against insignificant matters, appearing to be eccentric or unbalanced or immature. We lose much credibility and strength, and we risk being weighed on an uneven balance, when, Don Quixote–like, we go around “tilting windmills.”
We emphasize that the greatest work you will do will be within the walls of your home (see Harold B. Lee, Ensign, July 1973, p. 98), and that “no other success can compensate for failure in the home” (David O. McKay, Improvement Era, June 1964, p. 445).
The measure of our success as parents, however, will not rest solely on how our children turn out. That judgment would be just only if we could raise our families in a perfectly moral environment, and that now is not possible.
It is not uncommon for responsible parents to lose one of their children, for a time, to influences over which they have no control. They agonize over rebellious sons or daughters. They are puzzled over why they are so helpless when they have tried so hard to do what they should.
It is my conviction that those wicked influences one day will be overruled.
“The Prophet Joseph Smith declared—and he never taught a more comforting doctrine—that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God.” (Orson F. Whitney, in Conference Report, Apr. 1929, p. 110.)
We cannot overemphasize the value of temple marriage, the binding ties of the sealing ordinance, and the standards of worthiness required of them. When parents keep the covenants they have made at the altar of the temple, their children will be forever bound to them.
...If we choose to overlook or ignore our community responsibilities, we may well be abdicating control of the influences on our families to others. Our standards and values can be an influence for good in our community-but only when we become involved and share that influence.
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