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President Thomas S. Monson speaks Oct. 4 during the Sunday morning session of the 185th Semiannual General Conference.

President Thomas S. Monson began his Sunday morning talk by paying tribute to his late friends and fellow apostles — President Boyd K. Packer, Elder L. Tom Perry and Elder Richard G. Scott.

"They have returned to their heavenly home," he said. "We miss them. How grateful we are for their examples of Christ-like love and for the inspired teachings they have left to all of us."

He then extended a welcome to the newly called apostles: Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Elder Gary E. Stevens and Elder Dale G. Renlund. "These are men dedicated to the work of the Lord. They are well qualified to fill the important positions to which they have been called."

President Monson said he has recently been pondering two familiar passages of scripture:

First, from the Sermon on the Mount: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16).

And second, from Paul's epistle to Timothy: "Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12).

"The second scripture explains, in great part, how we can accomplish the first," President Monson said. "We become examples of the believers by living the Gospel of Jesus Christ in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity. As we do so, our lights will shine for others to see."

All have been given the light of Christ. "As we follow the example of the Savior and live as He lived and as he taught, that light will burn within us and light the way for others."

The Apostle Paul, he added, listed six attributes of a believer that allows his or her light to shine.

The first two attributes are being an example in word and conversation.

"The words we use can lift and inspire, or they can harm and demean," he said. "In the world today there is a profusion of profanity with which we seem to be surrounded at nearly every turn. It is difficult to avoid hearing the names of deity being used casually and thoughtlessly. Coarse comments seem to have become a staple of television, movies, books and music. Bandied about are slanderous remarks and angry rhetoric.

"Let us speak to others with love and respect, ever keeping our language clean and avoiding words or comments that would wound or offend."

The third attribute is charity — the pure love of Christ.

Many in one's sphere of influence are lonely, ill or discouraged.

"Ours is the opportunity to help them and to lift their spirits," he said. "The Savior brought hope to the hopeless and strength to the weak. He healed the sick; He caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear. He even raised the dead to life. Throughout His ministry He reached out in charity to any in need. As we emulate His example, we will bless lives, including our own."

The next attribute is to be an example in spirit. "That means we strive to have in our lives kindness, gratitude, forgiveness and good will. These qualities will provide for us a spirit which will touch the lives of those around us."

Another essential attribute, he added, is being an example of faith.

"It means that we possess and that we nourish the beliefs that will guide our thoughts and our actions," President Monson said. "Our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in our Heavenly Father will influence all that we do. Amidst the confusion of our age, the conflicts of conscience and the turmoil of daily living, an abiding faith becomes an anchor to our lives. ...

"Finally, we are to be pure, which means that we are clean in body, mind and spirit. We know that our body is a temple, to be treated with reverence and respect. Our minds should be filled with uplifting and ennobling thoughts and kept free from those things which will pollute. In order to have the Holy Ghost as our constant companion, we must be worthy."

President Monson said members can qualify "to be lights to the world" when they prove to be examples in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith and in purity.

"As the world moves further and further away from the principles and guidelines given to us by a loving Heavenly Father, we will stand out from the crowd because we are different," he said. "We will stand out because we dress modestly. We will be different because we do not use profanity and because we do not partake of substances which are harmful to our bodies.

"We will be different because we avoid off-color humor and degrading remarks. We will be different as we decide not to fill our minds with media choices that are base and demeaning and that will remove the Spirit from our homes and our lives."

President Monson said members will stand out as they make choices that adhere to gospel principles and standards. "These things which make us different from most of the world also provide us with that light and that spirit which will shine in an increasingly dark world."

The Church president acknowledged it can be difficult to be different and to stand alone in a crowd.

"As we make Christ the center of our lives, our fears will be replaced by the courage of convictions," he said.

No one's life is perfect and challenges and difficulties may cause one's light to dim. "However, with the help from our Heavenly Father, coupled with support from others, we can regain that light which will illuminate our own path once again and provide the light others may need."

President Monson declared, "To each of you I say that you are a son or daughter of our Heavenly Father. You have come from His presence to live on this earth for a season, to reflect the Savior's love and teachings and to bravely let your light shine for all to see."

jswensen@deseretnews.com

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