Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Elder L. Tom Perry on building a character of integrity and trust

Elder L. Tom Perry (1922-2015) was called as an Assistant to the Twelve in 1972, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1974. At the time of his passing at age 92, he was the oldest living general authority and the third in seniority among the leading quorum.
"Our world today is increasingly fast moving and complex. There are always opportunities for individuals to play fast and loose. Many people like to play to activities that produce quick windfalls and often take advantage of others who try to play according to the rules established by good practices. This fast-moving world has heightened the temptation for people to play the game with their own set of rules.
"However, we must always answer to the law of the harvest. 'For whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward' (D&C 6:33). This is a law that will never be repealed....
"A good character is something you must make for yourself. It cannot be inherited from parents. It cannot be created by having extraordinary advantages. It isn’t a gift of birth, wealth, talent, or station. It is the result of your own endeavor. It is the reward that comes from living good principles and manifesting a virtuous and honorable life.
"With that noble quality of trust comes the reputation of one who is honest and possesses integrity. These are character traits that will ensure a long and successful career. The greatest asset you can put into your bank is the reputation of being a person of trust."
- L. Tom Perry, address delivered 1/15/2010 at Utah Valley University: see "The Tradition of a Balanced, Righteous Life," Ensign, Aug. 2011, 36
Click here to read the full talk

Elder Perry warns that we are sometimes tempted in today's world to "play fast and loose": to ignore the established rules and conventions, choosing to "play the game with [our] own set of rules." We are sometimes tempted to rationalize our behavior and act inappropriately. But he warns that these choices will have consequences eventually, as the "law of the harvest" brings us our eventual dues.

Instead, we should endeavor always to make the choices and follow the actions that will result in good character:

Then, having built our life on "living good principles and manifesting a virtuous and honorable life," we can be assured that we become someone full of integrity who is worthy of trust. There is no more desirable quality in the world we live in!

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

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