Monday, December 28, 2015

Dallin H. Oaks on applying the teachings of the Savior

Elder Dallin H. Oaks (b. August 12, 1932) served as president of BYU from 1971-1980.  He was then appointed as a justice of the Utah Supreme Court, and resigned when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984.
"Brigham Young gave us some practical advice on how to do this [better apply the teachings and example of Jesus Christ in our lives]. 'The difference between God and the Devil,' he said, 'is that God creates and organizes, while the whole study of the Devil is to destroy' (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 69). In that contrast we have an important example of the reality of 'opposition in all things' (2 Ne. 2:11).
"Remember, our Savior, Jesus Christ, always builds us up and never tears us down. We should apply the power of that example in the ways we use our time, including our recreation and diversions. Consider the themes of the books, magazines, movies, television, and music we make popular by our patronage. Do the purposes and actions portrayed in our chosen entertainment build up or tear down the children of God? During my lifetime I have seen a strong trend to displace what builds up and dignifies the children of God with portrayals and performances that are depressing, demeaning, and destructive.
"The powerful idea in this example is that whatever builds people up serves the cause of the Master, and whatever tears people down serves the cause of the adversary. We support one cause or the other every day by our patronage. This should remind us of our responsibility and motivate us toward fulfilling it in a way that would be pleasing to Him whose suffering offers us hope and whose example should give us direction."
- Dallin H. Oaks, "Powerful Ideas," Ensign, November 1995, pp. 25-27
Click here to read the full talk

Elder Oaks, in quoting Brigham Young, shares a fascinating summary of the difference between God and Satan: the motivation behind their actions.  God desires to create and organize; Satan tries always to pull down and destroy.

He encourages us to use this principle as we choose how to use our time, particularly our "free time" of recreation. Each activity we choose to participate in should be uplifting, should build up both ourselves and others. Elder Oaks cautions about the modern trend to things that are "depressing, demeaning, and destructive."

In looking ahead to a new year, it would be a good time to evaluate our lives and consider if our choices are in line with this wise counsel.

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