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.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
The thing that all of us should strive for is to so live, keeping the commandments of the Lord, that He can answer our prayers. If we will live worthy, then the Lord will guide us—by a personal appearance, or by His actual voice, or by His voice coming into our mind, or by impressions upon our heart and our soul. And oh, how grateful we ought to be if the Lord sends us a dream in which is revealed to us the beauties of the eternity or a warning and direction for our special comfort. Yes, if we so live, the Lord will guide us for our salvation and for our benefit.
Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.
If we strive for perfection—the best and greatest—and are never satisfied with mediocrity, we can excel. In the field of both composition and performance, why cannot someone write a greater oratorio than Handel’sMessiah? The best has not yet been composed nor produced. They can use the coming of Christ to the Nephites as the material for a greater masterpiece. Our artists tomorrow may write and sing of Christ’s spectacular return to the American earth in power and great glory, and his establishment of the kingdom of God on the earth in our own dispensation. No Handel nor other composer of the past or present or future could ever do justice to this great event. How could one ever portray in words and music the glories of the coming of the Father and the Son and the restoration of the doctrines and the priesthood and the keys unless he were an inspired Latter-day Saint, schooled in the history and doctrines and revelations and with rich musical ability and background and training?
“Abide in me” is an understandable and beautiful enough concept in the elegant English of the King James Bible, but “abide” is not a word we use much anymore. So I gained even more appreciation for this admonition from the Lord when I was introduced to the translation of this passage in another language. In Spanish that familiar phrase is rendered “permaneced en mi.” Like the English verb “abide,” permanecer means “to remain, to stay,” but even gringos like me can hear the root cognate there of “permanence.” The sense of this then is “stay—but stay forever.” That is the call of the gospel message to Chileans and everyone else in the world. Come, but come to remain. Come with conviction and endurance. Come permanently, for your sake and the sake of all the generations who must follow you, and we will help each other be strong to the very end.
We have been and will be stirred by the testifying messages of the Brethren and sisters in this conference. I believe this confirming experience should relate to you. You may very well receive an affirmation that what is said is true. Brigham Young taught, "Not only the Saints who are present, . . . but those of every nation, continent, or island who live the religion taught by our Savior and his Apostles, and also by Joseph Smith; . . . also bear the same testimony, their eyes have been quickened by the Spirit of God, and they see alike, their hearts have been quickened, and they feel and understand alike."
I know with all my heart and soul that God lives. I believe He will enlighten our lives with His love for each of us if we strive to be worthy of that love.
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