I can now enjoy the benefit of time’s distant view. The Jesus I know and love today I encountered at the age of seventeen. But His name and His tug in my life mean infinitely more now than they did when I first surrendered my life to Him. I came to Him because I did not know which way to turn. I have remained with Him because there is no other way I wish to turn. I came to Him longing for something I did not have. I remain with Him because I have something I will not trade. I came to him as a stranger. I remain with Him in the most intimate of friendships. I came to Him unsure about the future. I remain with Him certain about my destiny. I came amid the thunderous cries of a culture that has three hundred and thirty million deities. I remain with Him knowing that truth cannot be all-inclusive. Truth by definition excludes.
We believe in Marx, Fraud, and Darwin. We believe everything is okay, as long as you don’t hurt anyone, to the best of your definition of hurt, and to the best of your definition of knowledge. We believe in sex before, during, and after marriage. We believe in the therapy of sin. We believe that adultery is fun. We believe that taboos are taboo. We believe that everything is getting better, despite evidence to the contrary. The evidence must be investigated, and you can prove anything with evidence. We believe there’s something in horoscopes, UFOs, and bent spoons. Jesus was a good man just like Buddha, Muhammad, and ourselves. He was a good moral teacher, although we think some of his morals were basically bad. We believe that all religions are basically the same; at least the ones that we read were. They all believe in love and goodness; they only differ on matters of creation, sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation. We believe that after death comes the nothing, because when you ask the dead what happens, they say nothing. If that is not the end and if the dead have lied then it’s compulsory heaven for all, except perhaps Hitler, Stalin, and Gengis Khan. We believe in Masters and Johnson. What’s selected is average, what’s average is normal, what’s normal is good. We believe in total disarmament. We believe there are direct links between warfare and bloodshed. American should beat their guns into tractors and the Russians would be sure to follow. We believe man is essentially good, it’s only his behavior that lets him down. This is the fault of society, society is the fault of conditions, conditions are the fault of society. We believe that each man must find the truth that is right for him, and reality will adapt accordingly. The universe will readjust, history will alter. We believe that there is no absolute truth except the truth that there is no absolute truth. We believe in the rejection of creeds, and the flowering of individual thought. If chance be the father of all flesh, disaster is his rainbow in the sky. And when you hear “state of emergency,” “sniper kills ten,” “troops on rampage,” “bomb blasts school,” it is but the sound of man worshipping his maker.
You and I are here upon the earth to prepare for eternity, to learn how to learn, to learn things that are temporally important and eternally essential, and to assist others in learning wisdom and truth (see D&C 97:1). Understanding who we are, where we came from, and why we are upon the earth places upon each of us a great responsibility both to learn how to learn and to learn to love learning.
We are involved in an intense battle. It is a battle between right and wrong, between truth and error, between the design of the Almighty on the one hand and that of Lucifer on the other. For that reason, we desperately need moral men and women who stand on principle, to be involved in the political process. Otherwise, we abdicate power to those whose designs are almost entirely selfish.
Do not recognize truth on the basis of men; rather, recognize the truth first, then you will recognize the holders of truth.
Piety requires us to honor truth above our friends.
Please encourage your families, your quorum members, everyone to learn and become better educated. If formal education is not available, do not allow that to prevent you from acquiring all the knowledge you can. Under such circumstances, the best books, in a sense, can become your “university”—a classroom that is always open and admits all who apply. Strive to increase your knowledge of all that is “virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy.” Seek knowledge “by study and also by faith.” Seek with a humble spirit and contrite heart. As you apply the spiritual dimension of faith to your study—even of temporal things—you can amplify your intellectual capacity, for “if your eye be single to [God’s] glory, your whole [body] shall be filled with light, . . . and [comprehend] all things.”
In our learning, let us not neglect the fountain of revelation. The scriptures and the words of modern-day apostles and prophets are the sources of wisdom, divine knowledge, and personal revelation to help us find answers to all the challenges in life. Let us learn of Christ; let us seek out that knowledge which leads to peace, truth, and the sublime mysteries of eternity.
It is no accident that the lessening, or loss, of belief in certain absolute truths, such as the existence of God and the reality of immortality, has occurred at the same time there has been a sharp gain in the size and power of governments in many portions of the world.
There is only one safety; there is only one cure; and that is to take the pure and unadulterated word of God and set that up as our standard of measurement, and measure every creed and doctrine and dogma by that yardstick. That which will not square with the declarations of Almighty God we can lay aside as unsuited for the need of man. . . .