Monday, April 29, 2019

President Dallin H. Oaks on anticipating eternal consequences

President Dallin H. Oaks (born August 12, 1932) served as president of BYU from 1971-1980.  He was then appointed as a justice of the Utah Supreme Court, and resigned when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984. He became President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and also 1st Counselor in the First Presidency in January 2018.
"The restored gospel of Jesus Christ encourages us to think about the future. It explains the purpose of mortal life and the reality of the life to follow. It teaches great ideas about the future to guide our actions today.
"In contrast, we all know persons who are concerned only with the present: spend it today, enjoy it today, and take no thought for the future.
"Our present and our future will be happier if we are always conscious of the future. As we make current decisions, we should always be asking, 'Where will this lead?'"
- President Dallin H. Oaks, "Where Will This Lead?," General Conference April 2019
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

What motivates us to make decisions? Often the easy criteria relate to immediate profit or short-term benefit. It's usually relatively easy to see the quick results and benefits of our decisions. But is that a wise method for decision-making? President Oaks taught us that the gospel of Jesus Christ suggests a better pattern: consider the long-term results, and particularly the eternal consequences.

The challenge in this approach is that asking "Where will this lead?" is not always an easy question to answer. It's important to try to anticipate consequences to the best of our ability; and as we grow and mature in life, we learn from experience and are able to refine our predictions to more accuracy. But truthfully, the only way to really know where any decision will lead is to be inspired by God. His inspiration will always direct and confirm as we are worthy and willing to listen.

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

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