Every person needs a "bold-faced" plan to combat challenging and tempting situations that will come their way, said Elder Bruce A. Carlson of the Seventy during a campus devotional at Brigham Young University-Idaho on May 13.
Talking about the F-4 Phantom fighter jet he flew while in the U.S. Air Force, Elder Carlson said it was a powerful jet in its day, and that's why he loved to fly it.
During certain maneuvers, the pilot could easily lose control of the aircraft, a phenomenon known as “adverse yaw,” he said. To keep pilots safe, the Air Force developed an emergency plan — a plan important enough that pilots constantly practiced it on the ground, in the simulator and in the aircraft. They called it “the bold-faced emergency procedure.”
Elder Carlson related this emergency procedure to having a plan of action in tempting or challenging situations.
“Just like in the Phantom, where I knew exactly what I would do if I ever encountered any ‘out-of-control’ situation, I believe that if we make a choice ahead of time and know exactly what we are going to do with regard to a certain situatio, ... we will be able to outperform others who will still be thinking about what they are going to do in that setting,” he said. “Then, we simply implement our bold-faced procedure and, as it was in my analogy with the F-4, we zoom out of what could have been a very dangerous, critical or maybe even life-altering situation.”
To expand on this concept, Elder Carlson said that “the first and most important principle pertaining to our eternal destiny [is] that of moral agency.”
He reminded students that in the pre-mortal life, all chose to have moral agency. Satan wanted to take this away and have the glory for himself. The Savior, however, gave His own life that all might have eternal life, he taught.
“Those who, through His gospel, learn and follow His commandments will be given a clear understanding of the purpose of this life and learn how to make proper choices between right and wrong,” said Elder Carlson. “For those who are successful, there is a resultant promise of eternal reward.”
Elder Carlson acknowledged that some people say it is too restrictive to live all the commandments that have been given, and doing so requires they do without certain things that are fun.
“However hard the straight and narrow path is, it remains the only path that guarantees victory and accomplishment of our stated goal, the goal we promised Heavenly Father and ourselves when we left His presence, the goal of returning to Him with honor,” said Elder Carlson. “ We must also recognize that it does not handcuff or shackle any one of us. On the contrary, it is the way to deliverance, independence and freedom.”
He gave examples of people he has worked with in overcoming challenges in their lives and told of their bold-faced plans in these obstacles. One example was of a man who struggled with pornography.
“As he struggled to rid himself of the influence of this evil, one of his bold-faced procedures was that when he traveled alone on a business trip and stayed in a hotel, he would unplug the TV as soon as he got in the room,” said Elder Carlson. “Now there was simply no way to watch even questionable material.”
Another example was that of a woman who struggled with her temper. Elder Carlson said that for her bold-faced plan, she would count to ten and recite the words of a hymn before she opened her mouth in anger. Through this, she was able to overcome her temper.
Elder Carlson emphasized that in order to become successful at anything, good choices are key.
“Unwise choices repeated over and over lead to failure, frustration and even depression,” said Elder Carlson. “On the other hand, wise choices repeated regularly lead to success. It’s hard, but it’s not complicated or difficult to understand, is it?”
Unwise choices do not cause dead ends because Christ provided a way to get back on course, he taught, while urging students to not waste time beating themselves up but to “execute the right bold-faced procedure, put on [their] learning caps and do what [they] know to be right.”
“Use the power of choice!” said Elder Carlson.
He told students that in order to do this, they should ask themselves four questions:
- What actually happened?
- What could I have done differently?
- Next time I face a similar decision or situation, how will I positively use my power of choice?
- What’s my bold-faced emergency procedure going to be?