Thursday, February 8, 2018

President Boyd K. Packer on help to confront the world's challenges

President Boyd K. Packer (1924-2015) served as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve (a position that no longer exists) from 1961 to 1970, when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.  He served as president of that Quorum from 1994 until his death on July 3, 2015 at age 90.
"The gift of the Holy Ghost, if you consent, will guide and protect you and even correct your actions. It is a spiritual voice that comes into the mind as a thought or a feeling put into your heart. The prophet Enos said, 'The voice of the Lord came into my mind' (Enos 1:10). And the Lord told Oliver Cowdery, 'Behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you' (D&C 8:2).
"It is not expected that you go through life without making mistakes, but you will not make a major mistake without first being warned by the promptings of the Spirit. This promise applies to all members of the Church....
"Youth today are being raised in enemy territory with a declining standard of morality. But as a servant of the Lord, I promise that you will be protected and shielded from the attacks of the adversary if you will heed the promptings that come from the Holy Spirit.
"Dress modestly; talk reverently; listen to uplifting music. Avoid all immorality and personally degrading practices. Take hold of your life and order yourself to be valiant. Because we depend so much on you, you will be remarkably blessed. You are never far from the sight of your loving Heavenly Father."
- Boyd K. Packer, "Counsel to Youth," General Conference, October 2011
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

As the title of the talk indicates, President Packer was addressing his remarks primarily to youth, encouraging them to deal with the challenges of their lives in the best ways. It is a great key to learn to listen to the voice of the Holy Ghost, particularly when challenges and temptations come; President Packer reminds us all that the Spirit will always warn us before we make critical mistakes as long as we are worthy and willing to listen.

Our modern times present a setting where we are in "enemy territory" and facing "a declining standard of morality." But President Packer promises protection to those who heed spiritual promptings. In order to be worthy of such support, he counsels:

It's interesting to ponder how our choices influence the ability of the Holy Ghost to bless us. How we look, how we speak, what kind of music fills our minds—these things influence us more than we realize.

This was counsel of bold action: "Take hold of your life and order yourself to be valiant." We must be determined and firm in deciding to control our own destiny.  But President Packer's promise is clear: our "loving Heavenly Father" will never be far from us.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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