Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Elder Quentin L. Cook on avoiding moral bondage

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.
"God intended that men and women would be free to make choices between good and evil. When evil choices become the dominant characteristic of a culture or nation, there are serious consequences both in this life and the life to come. People can become enslaved or put themselves in bondage not only to harmful, addictive substances but also to harmful, addictive philosophies that detract from righteous living.
"Turning from the worship of the true and living God and worshipping false gods like wealth and fame and engaging in immoral and unrighteous conduct result in bondage in all its insidious manifestations. These include spiritual, physical, and intellectual bondage and sometimes bring destruction....
"Our challenge is to avoid bondage of any kind, help the Lord gather His elect, and sacrifice for the rising generation. We must always remember that we do not save ourselves. We are liberated by the love, grace, and atoning sacrifice of the Savior. When Lehi's family fled, they were led by the Lord's light. If we are true to His light, follow His commandments, and rely on His merits, we will avoid spiritual, physical, and intellectual bondage as well as the lamentation of wandering in our own wilderness, for He is mighty to save.
"Let us avoid the despair and sorrow of those who fall into captivity and can no longer bear to sing the songs of Zion."
- Quentin L. Cook, "Lamentations of Jeremiah: Beware of Bondage," General Conference, October 2013
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

The freedom to choose between good and evil is one of the foundational principles of our mortal experience. Elder Cook suggests that if an individual or a group make too many choices of evil, so that it becomes the dominant path, there is a loss of freedom, an enslavement to the evil that robs man of the freedom of choice. We fall into "spiritual, physical, and intellectual bondage" that prevent us from acting for ourselves. It's a dangerous situation, and it's good to be reminded and warned so we can do all we can to avoid the problem and help those around us be aware and wary.

If we continue to make righteous choices, we retain the ability to choose our course in life:

It is only through righteous choices that we are able to continue to "sing the songs of Zion" in our lives. Joy comes through the proper exercise of agency; bondage is the result of misuse. We must guard against Satan's efforts to persuade us with "harmful, addictive philosophies" or the "false gods like wealth and fame" as well as "engaging in immoral and unrighteous conduct."

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

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