A knowledge of truth and the answers to great questions come through obedience to the commandments of God, said President Thomas S. Monson in his Sunday morning conference address.
"There is no need for you or for me, in this enlightened age when the fullness of the gospel has been restored, to sail uncharted seas or to travel unmarked roads in search of truth," said the President of the Church. "A loving Heavenly Father has plotted our course and provided an unfailing guide — even obedience."
President Monson told the congregation that they all learn obedience throughout their lives. "Beginning when we are very young, those responsible for our care set forth guidelines and rules to ensure our safety. Life would be simpler for all of us if we would obey such rules completely. Many of us, however, learn through experience the wisdom of being obedient."
President Monson said that as a child he learned such a lesson while at his family's Vivian Park cabin in Provo Canyon, Utah. He and his best friend, Danny Larsen, decided one morning that they wanted to have a campfire that evening with their friends. They needed to clear an area covered with dry and prickly grass in a field. When the task of pulling up the grass became too hard, President Monson said, he suggested they burn a circle in the weeds to clear an area for their campfire. "Lest any of you think that at the tender age of eight we were permitted to use matches, I want to make it clear that both Danny and I were forbidden to use them without adult supervision. Both of us had been warned repeatedly of the dangers of fire."
However, they proceeded with their plan. When they lit a match, the fire did not burn away the weeds — and then extinguish itself — as they had hoped; instead, menacing flames began to follow the wild grass up the mountainside. "Finally, we had no option but to run for help. Soon all available men and women at Vivian Park were dashing back and forth with wet burlap bags, beating at the flames in an attempt to extinguish them. After several hours the last remaining embers were smothered. ... Danny and I learned several difficult, but important, lessons that day — not the least of which was the importance of obedience."
There are rules and laws to help ensure physical safety, said President Monson. "Likewise, the Lord has provided guidelines and commandments to help ensure our spiritual safety so that we might successfully navigate this often treacherous mortal existence and return eventually to our Heavenly Father."
All prophets, ancient and modern, have known that obedience is essential to our salvation, said President Monson.
"Obedience is a hallmark of prophets; it has provided strength and knowledge to them throughout the ages. It is essential for us to realize that we, as well, are entitled to this source of strength and knowledge. It is readily available to each of us today as we obey God's commandments."
President Monson said through the years he has known countless individuals who have been particularly faithful and obedient. "I have been inspired by them," he said.
He shared an account of two such individuals — Walter Krause, who lived in what became known as East Germany following World War II, and Johann Denndorfer, a native of Hungary who joined the Church in Germany in 1911 at the age of 17 before returning the Hungary. Following the war, Brother Denndorfer "found himself virtually a prisoner in his native land, in the city of Debrecen."
Brother Krause did not know Brother Denndorfer, but received the assignment to be his home teacher and to visit him on a regular basis.
With his companion, Brother Denndorfer underwent on a substantial journey to Hungary. Brother Denndorfer had not had home teachers since before the war and, before doing anything else, gave his tithing to his home teachers when they arrived.
"Brother Krause told me later that he had been touched beyond words to think that this faithful brother, who had no contact with the Church for many years, had obediently and consistently taken from his meager earning 10 percent with which to pay his tithing. He had saved it not knowing when or if he might have the privilege of paying it.
"Brother Walter Krause passed away nine years ago at the age of 94. He served faithfully and obediently throughout his life and was an inspiration to me and to all who knew him. When asked to fulfill assignments, he never questioned, he never murmured, and he never made excuses."
President Monson added, " My bothers and sisters, the great test of this life is obedience."Comment on this story
He said no greater example of obedience exists than that of the Savior.
"The Savior demonstrated genuine love of God by living the prefect life, and by honoring the sacred mission that was His. Never was He haughty. Never was He puffed up with pride. Never was He disloyal. Ever was He humble. Ever was he sincere. Ever was He obedient.
"Though He was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by that master of deceit, even the devil, though He was physically weakened from fasting 40 days and 40 nights and was an hungered, yet when the evil one proffered Jesus the most alluring and tempting proposals, He gave to us a divine example of obedience by refusing to deviate from what He knew was right."
President Monson said rich rewards come to the obedient. "The knowledge which we seek, the answers for which we yearn, the strength which we desire today to meet the challenges of a complex and changing world can be ours when we willingly obey the Lord's commandments."