Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — President Thomas S. Monson told his listeners during the Sunday morning session of the 183rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that the answers to life’s most profound questions can be found through obedience to the Lord’s commandments.
“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,” President Monson said. “A loving Heavenly Father has plotted our course and provided an unfailing guide — even obedience. A knowledge of truth and the answers to our greatest questions come to us as we are obedient to the commandments of the Lord.”
To illustrate his point he told a story from his youth, when he and a friend named Danny Larsen were together at Vivian Park in Utah’s Provo Canyon. In order to clear a plot of ground for an evening campfire, they decided that it would be a good idea to burn a circle in the weeds. Even though the boys had both been repeatedly warned about the dangers of fire and had been forbidden from playing with matches, President Monson said he snuck a few matchsticks our of his family’s cabin.
“I struck a match on a rock and set the parched june grass ablaze — it ignited as though it had been drenched in gasoline,” he said, eliciting laughter from the vast Conference Center congregation. “At first Danny and I were thrilled as we watched the weeds disappear, but it soon became apparent that the fire was not about to go out on its own.”
The two boys ran for help and eventually the fire was repelled before it spread to the nearby trees and homes.
“Danny and I learned several difficult but important lessons that day — not the least of which was the importance of obedience,” President Monson said. “There are rules and laws to help ensure our physical safety. 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.”
He shared other examples, including the story of Abraham and Isaac from the Old Testament and the story of the Savior’s ultimate act of obedience through the Atonement, pointing out that “the great test of this life is obedience.”
“The knowledge which we seek, the answers for which we yearn, and 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,” President Monson concluded. “I quote once again the words of the Lord: ‘He that keepeth (God’s) commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things’.”
President Monson’s second counselor in the church’s First Presidency, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, opened the Sunday morning session with a sermon directed at those who struggle with spiritual and emotional darkness in their lives.
“We might have lost a loved one; a child might have strayed; we might have received a troubling medical diagnosis; we might have employment challenges and be burdened by doubts or fears; or we might feel alone or unloved,” President Uchtdorf said. “But even though we may feel lost in the midst of our current circumstances, God promises the hope of his light — he promises to illuminate the way before us and show us the way out of darkness.”
He suggested three things people can do to open their eyes to the hope of God’s light. First, he said, start where you are — wherever that is. Second, turn your heart toward the Lord through prayer. And third, walk in the light.
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