Sunday, February 10, 2019

Elder Quentin L. Cook on living in the world

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.
"Be involved in the world in a positive way. As you embark on your various occupations, you can be a powerful force for good. A very significant challenge will be to adhere to the scriptural injunction to live in the world but not of the world. Joseph Fielding Smith taught that while we are in the world, 'We are not of the world in the sense that we are under any necessity to partake of evil customs, fashions, follies, false doctrines and theories.' (Conference Report, October, 1916.) In addition, your contribution to the place where you live in a positive sense is part of your challenge if you are to be an example, share the gospel, and live in accordance with the teachings you have received at this great university.
"To accomplish this, you graduates will want and need to be involved in the world in a very positive way. We must be tried and tested and found worthy of a greater kingdom. As President Monson has taught, 'decisions determine destiny.' ('Invitation to Exaltation,' Ensign, June, 1993)
"This is not an easy life; it was not meant to be. Nevertheless, we know that the Lord will cause our trials to bless us and be for our good. He will give us the strength to stand firm despite opposition. Righteousness is its own reward, and the scriptures promise us the reward for righteousness is peace in this world and eternal life in the world to come. (See D&C 59:3.) I counsel you to be involved in the world in a positive way."
- Quentin L. Cook, "Pursue the True Path to Happiness," commencement address given at BYU-Hawaii, April 10, 2010
Click here to read the full talk

Graduation speeches at universities are interesting times to give counsel, appropriate for students who have made a significant achievement and have a wide range of opportunities in the years ahead of them. Elder Cook's counsel was that they find ways to be a "powerful force for good" in the world they were entering. That would require being a part of the world around them, with all its blessings and challenges; but taking care not to partake of the negative aspects of that world:

Living the gospel in an active, positive way is a good way to avoid many of the challenges that confront us. As we are committed to positive standards, and as we endeavor to let the light of the gospel shine in our lives, we are less inclined to turn towards the darker aspects of life. It's not always an easy task; but the blessings of heaven will sustain us. I love the thought that "righteousness is its own reward"—we will find joy and peace through the Lord's path, as well as "peace in this world and eternal life in the world to come."

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

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