Thursday, January 10, 2019

Elder Quentin L. Cook on wise choices in life's priorities

Elder Quentin L. Cook (born September 8, 1940) was called as a Seventy in 1996, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2007.
"I believe Elder Dallin H. Oaks’s inspired message distinguishing between 'good, better, best' provides an effective way to evaluate choices and priorities. (Ensign, Nov. 2007, 104–8.)  Many choices are not inherently evil, but if they absorb all of our time and keep us from the best choices, then they become insidious.
"Even worthwhile endeavors need evaluation in order to determine if they have become distractions from the best goals. I had a memorable discussion with my father when I was a teenager. He did not believe enough young people were focused on or preparing for long-term important goals—like employment and providing for families.
"Meaningful study and preparatory work experience were always at the top of my father’s recommended priorities. He appreciated that extracurricular activities like debate and student government might have a direct connection with some of my important goals. He was less certain about the extensive time I spent participating in football, basketball, baseball, and track. He acknowledged that athletics could build strength, endurance, and teamwork but asserted that perhaps concentrating on one sport for a shorter time would be better. In his view, sports were good but not the best for me. He was concerned that some sports were about building local celebrity or fame at the expense of more important long-term goals."
- Quentin L. Cook, "Choose Wisely," General Conference October 2014
Click here to read or listen to the full article

What makes a choice good or bad, righteous or evil? Elder Cook suggests it may depend on circumstances; the choice may not be "inherently" wrong, but if it results in activities that prevent us from doing things that are more important, then it can be a bad choice:

Elder Cook shares an example from his own youth, when he was an aspiring athlete. His father counseled him to keep a broad perspective on his youthful activities;. He emphasized that in his case, while there were worthwhile benefits from many extracurricular activities, too much time devoted in those areas would prevent him from focusing on other, more important, activities.

It's important for each of us to evaluate our activities regularly and be sure to choose those things that lead most effectively to our real, eternal goals.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2019)

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