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Communication with Heavenly Father — including "our prayers to Him and His inspiration to us" — is necessary in order for Latter-day Saints to weather the storms and trials of life, said President Thomas S. Monson.
'The Lord invites us: 'Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you. Seek me diligently and ye shall find me,'" said President Monson. "As we do so, we will feel His spirit in our lives, providing us the desire and the courage to stand strong and firm in righteousness — to stand in holy places and not be moved."
Speaking during the Sunday morning session of the Church's 181st Semiannual General Conference, President Monson said he felt impressed to share "certain thoughts and feelings which I consider to be pertinent and timely."
President Monson said he has lived on the earth for 84 years. "Yesterday's science fiction has become today's reality. And that reality, thanks to the technology of our times, is changing so fast we can barely keep up with it — if we do at all. … Also evolving at a rapid rate has been the moral compass of society. Behaviors which once were considered inappropriate and immoral are now not only tolerated but also viewed by ever so many as acceptable."
President Monson told the worldwide congregation that they need not "wring their hands in despair" and wonder how they "will ever survive in such a world."
"Indeed," explained President Monson, "we have in our lives the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we know that morality is not passé, that our conscience is there to guide us, and that we are responsible for our actions."
Although the world has changed, the laws of God remain constant, he said. "They have not changed; they will not change. The Ten Commandments are just that — commandments. They are not suggestions. They are every bit as requisite today as they were when God gave them to the children of Israel."
After reading the Ten Commandments, President Monson said the Church's code of conduct is definitive; it is not negotiable. "It is found not only in the Ten Commandments but also in the Sermon on the Mount, given to us by the Savior when He walked upon the earth. It is found throughout His teachings. It is found in the words of modern revelation."
President Monson said Father in Heaven is the same yesterday, today and forever. "His constancy is something on which we can rely, an anchor to which we can hold fast and be safe, lest we be swept away into uncharted waters."
It may appear at times that those out in the world are having much more fun than those in the Church, he said. "Some of you may feel restricted by the code of conduct to which we in the Church adhere. My brothers and sisters, I declare to you, however, that there is nothing which can bring more joy into our lives or more peace to our souls than the Spirit which can come to us as we follow the Savior and keep the commandments. That Spirit cannot be present at the kinds of activities in which so much of the world participates."
President Monson told Church members they must be vigilant in a world that has moved so far from that which is spiritual. "It is essential that we reject anything that does not conform to our standards, refusing in the process to surrender that which we desire most — eternal life in the Kingdom of God. The storms will still beat at our doors from time to time, for they are an inescapable part of our experience in mortality. We, however, will be far better equipped to deal with them, to learn from them and to overcome them if we have the gospel at our core and the love of the Savior in our hearts."
President Monson said it is necessary that Church members communicate with their Heavenly Father through prayer. "He wants us to do so. He will answer our prayers."
President Monson said he gained a testimony of the power of prayer when he was 12 years old. He had worked hard and managed to save $5. He gave the coins to his father in exchange for a new $5 bill. He tucked the bill into the pocket of his jeans, which were sent to the laundry with the money still in the pocket. "The chances of getting my $5 back were extremely remote — a fact which my dear mother confirmed when I told her I had left the money in my pocket.
"I wanted that money; I needed that money; I had worked very hard to earn that money. I realized there was only one thing I could do. In my extremity I turned to my Father in Heaven and pleaded with Him to keep my money safe in that pocket somehow until our wet wash came back."
Two very long days later, when the pants came back, he reached into the packet and found the money was still there.
"I offered a heartfelt prayer of gratitude to my Father in Heaven, for I knew that He had answered my prayer. Since that time I have had countless prayers answered. Not a day has gone by that I have not communicated with my Father in Heaven through prayer. It is a relationship I cherish — one I would literally by lost without. If you do not now have such a relationship with your Father in Heaven, I urge you to work toward that goal. As you do so, you will be entitled to His inspiration and guidance in your life — necessities for each of us if we are to survive spiritually during our sojourn here on earth. Such inspiration and guidance are gifts. He freely gives if we but seek them. What treasures they are."
President Monson said he is always humbled and grateful when his Heavenly Father communicates with him through inspiration. "I have learned to recognize it, to trust it, and to follow it," he said. "Time and time again I have been the recipient of such inspiration."
As the winds of change swirl around Church members and as the moral fiber of society continues to disintegrate, President Monson asked of them, "May we remember the Lord's precious promises to those who trust in Him: 'Fear thou not; for I am with thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.'"