What stimulates your thoughts

Let virtue grace your thoughts

Thank you, Elder Pace, for this lovely opening prayer - for the audience and especially for the speakers.

“Let virtue always grace your thoughts; then your trust will grow strong in the presence of God ”(D&C 121: 45).

As my twelfth birthday approached, there were a few more conditions I had to meet before I could graduate from Primary. One of them was to recite the 13 Articles of Faith in the order given. The first twelve articles were relatively easy, but the 13th was much more difficult. The difficulty was in memorizing the order of the virtues. I finally managed to memorize it thanks to a patient and persistent Primary teacher.

Years later, my wife, children, and I moved into our first house. We were surprised to learn that my former Primary teacher lived next door. During the forty years that we lived in the same neighborhood, she kept our little secret about my learning disabilities to herself.

“We believe that it is right to be honest, loyal, chaste, kind and virtuous and to do good to all people; yes, we can say that we are following Paul's admonition - we believe everything, we hope everything, we have endured a lot and hope to be able to endure everything. If there is something virtuous or lovable, if something has a good sound or is praiseworthy, we seek it ”(13th Articles of Faith.)

Today I want to talk about what we call virtues. Virtuous qualities are the basic elements of a Christian life and an outward expression of the inner man. The individual virtues often end with the suffix “-heit” or “-keit”. Some of these are honesty, chastity, spirituality, accountability, courtesy; but also humility, charity and loyalty are the virtues I am talking about today. The suffix -heit and -ness often denote a condition or a property.

If we carefully observe what is going on in society, we can see that these virtues are becoming increasingly rare. Just think of the behavior of drivers on congested roads; aggressive driving is the order of the day. There is no trace of politeness in the political discussion. As the countries of the world face financial and economic challenges, loyalty and honesty seem to have been replaced by greed and corruption. When attending school, one often hears rude expressions and sees indecent clothing. Some athletes show little sportsmanship and only rarely show humility, unless they are publicly denounced for legal or moral misconduct. A large part of the population hardly feels responsible for their own material well-being. In dire financial straits, many blame banks and lenders for providing sums of money to satisfy insatiable desires rather than affordable needs. Occasionally, our generosity in helping a good cause gives way to our greed to have more than we need.

Brothers and sisters, we must not participate in the misery of virtue that permeates and infects our society. If we follow the world and turn away from Christian virtues, the consequences could be disastrous. Faith and loyalty of the individual, which is of concern for eternity, will wane. Family cohesion and spirituality will suffer. The influence of religion on society will diminish and the rule of law will be called into question and perhaps even abolished entirely. The seed of all that torments the natural man will be laid to the bright joy of Satan.

We must stand firm and determined to uphold Christian virtues - including the simple virtues of everyday life I mentioned. Virtuous traits must be taught at home by parents who are observant and role models. The good example of the parents encourages imitation; a bad example is giving children carte blanche to disregard the teachings of their parents and often outdoing their parents' bad example. A faked example destroys any credibility.

Eight year old Megan likes to play the piano. Recently, her piano teacher promised her a donut if she practiced daily. The teacher said she would get donuts and call Megan sometime during the week. If she had practiced that day, she would get the reward. When the call came, Megan was away from home and unable to make a report. At the weekly class, the teacher asked Megan if she had practiced, to which Megan replied she thought so and accepted the reward. When Megan's mother saw the donut, she talked to Megan about it and told her that she had to be honest. Encouraged by her mother, Megan called her teacher and apologized. When the teacher and student met, it turned out that Megan had really done her music theory task and therefore absolutely deserved the reward. Thanks to wise parents, Megan was able to learn something important that she will think about for a long time.

Our 15 year old grandson Ben has loved skiing for life. He has already participated very successfully in competitions. Before one of these competitions, held in Idaho, his parents reminded him that his participation depended on his school grades. A vacation rental was reserved in Sun Valley, the grandparents resolved to watch the competition, and Ben was feverishly trying to achieve the high school goals he had set for himself with his parents. In the end, however, he missed the mark, if only just barely. Ben missed the ski competition and lost points that he needed to qualify for the youth games, but learned something very valuable, namely responsibility and reliability. When parents stand firm, it often causes them more agony than the children they are trying to teach.

President James E. Faust called honesty the mother of many virtues. He said honesty could be defined as "steadfast adherence to a code of moral values." He also stated that “honesty is the light that shines out of a disciplined conscience; it is the inherent force of duty "(" Integrity, the Mother of Many Virtues ", Speaking Out on Moral Issues, 1998, pp. 61f.). It is difficult to display virtuous qualities when one is not righteous. Without honesty, honesty is often forgotten. When there is a lack of honesty, courtesy suffers. When honesty is not important, it is difficult to maintain spirituality. In Old Testament times, Moses advised the Israelites: “When a man makes a vow to the Lord or under an oath to abstain, he must not break his word; just as he said it, he must do it ”(Numbers 30: 3).

President Thomas S. Monson taught us several years ago that “most people ... do not commit acts of despair when they have learned that dignity, honesty, and integrity are more important than vengeance and anger, and when they understand that respect and kindness last In the end, more likely to offer a chance of success "(" Family Values ​​in a Violent Society ", Deseret News, January 16, 1994, page A12, quoted in "Finding Peace", Liahona, March 2004, page 4).

Maybe you have dated lost Battalion from the First World War is owned by the lost ten tribes of Israel or even of the lost Boys from J. M. Barries play Peter Pan. You may also be familiar with Michael McLean's album The Forgotten Carols. Virtuous qualities - especially the virtues mentioned at the beginning - must never be forgotten or disregarded. If forgotten or disregarded, they inevitably become "lost virtues". If the virtues are lost, families are noticeably weakened, individuals' faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is weakened, and important, eternal relationships are at risk.

When virtue is practiced by many people, society can be set free from Satan's hand and his treacherous plan to capture people's hearts, minds, and spirits can be thwarted.

We must now together save and preserve what is virtuous or lovable, what “has a good sound or is praiseworthy”. If we allow virtue to grace our thoughts continually, and if we cultivate virtuous qualities, society and its institutions will be better, our children and families will be strengthened, and faith and honesty will make individuals happy.

I testify and proclaim that our Heavenly Father expects honesty, courtesy, loyalty, charity, generosity, decency, and all other virtues from His children at all times. May we have the humility to use this as an opportunity to do our duty and show that we are capable of it. This is what I pray in the holy name of Jesus Christ. Amen.