"In the wonderful prayer of our Redeemer, as recorded in the seventeenth chapter of John—I can hardly read this chapter without tears coming to my eyes—wherein our Lord, in praying to his Father in the tenderness of all his soul because he knew the hour had come for him to offer himself as a sacrifice, prayed for his disciples. In that prayer he said,
"'I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
"'They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
"'Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.' (John 17:15-17.)
"If we are living the religion which the Lord has revealed and which we have received, we do not belong to the world. We should have no part in all its foolishness. We should not partake of its sins and its errors—errors of philosophy and errors of doctrine, errors in regard to government, or whatever those errors may be—we have no part in it.
"The only part we have is the keeping of the commandments of God. That is all, being true to every covenant and every obligation that we have entered into and taken upon ourselves."
- Joseph Fielding Smith, "Fulfillment of Prophecy," Conference Report, Apr. 1952, pp. 26-28
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This message from President Smith addresses one of the great challenges we face. We live in a world that seems to be increasingly contrary to the laws and principles of the gospel. We have no choice but to be exposed to those influences. How do we manage to stay above them, protected from them?
The key, according to President Smith, is simply to live our religion and obey the commandments of God. As we focus our efforts and dedicate ourselves to the principles of the Lord's gospel, we can be in the world but "have no part in all its foolishness."
Note that we don't just avoid the actions and deeds of the world that are contrary to the appropriate behaviors the gospel defines for us, but we also avoid "errors of philosophy and errors of doctrine, errors in regard to government, or whatever those errors may be." How critical it is that we are "true to every covenant and every obligation that we have entered into and taken upon ourselves."