Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Elder Quentin L. Cook on living in the world but not of it

Elder Quentin L. Cook (b. September 8, 1940) was called as a Seventy in 1996, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2007.
"Sodom and Gomorrah have actual and symbolic significance representing wickedness in the world. The Lord appeared to Abraham and said, speaking of those who lived in Sodom and Gomorrah, 'Their sin is very grievous' (Gen. 18:20). Their sinfulness was so great, and those who were righteous so few, that God destroyed these two cities of the plain. The great prophet of our own day, President Gordon B. Hinckley, has stated: 'All of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah haunt our society. Our young people have never faced a greater challenge. We have never seen more clearly the lecherous face of evil.'
"Separating evil from our lives has become even more essential since our homes are wired to bring much of what the Lord has condemned into our own living rooms if we are not vigilant. One of the most difficult challenges in our lives is to be in the world but not of the world (see John 15:19). Gospel doctrine makes it clear that we must live in this world to achieve our eternal destination. We must be tried and tested and found worthy of a greater kingdom (see 2 Ne. 2:11; D&C 101:78). We must do as Abraham did when he pitched his tent and built 'an altar unto the Lord' (Gen. 13:18) and not do as Lot did when he 'pitched his tent toward Sodom' (Gen. 13:12)."
- Quentin L. Cook, "Lessons from the Old Testament: In the World But Not of the World," Ensign, Feb. 2006, p. 54
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

Sodom and Gomorrah are real, historic locations in biblical-era history. They were noted in their time for becoming overwhelmingly wicked, to the point of justifying total destruction by God. Since then their names have become the symbolic label we sometimes place upon unusual wickedness in our time. President Hinckley's warning that "all of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah haunt our society" is chilling, and justifies our attention and concern.

Elder Cook points out how easily the adversary invades our homes if we are not careful and vigilant. But since we have no choice but to live in the world, we must learn to deal with its challenges:

I love that imagery of where and how we "pitch our tent." It's a symbolic representation of where we are facing, what we are aligned with, perhaps what we are willing to invite inside our abode. In our time, it has become absolutely critical that our homes be fortified and defended against the world's encroachments; and that we "build an altar unto the Lord" in the sense of making the home a place of worship and devotion to God. We would all do well to evaluate, now and frequently, if there have been any little invasions that could threaten greater danger.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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