'What will you choose?' Elder Russell M. Nelson speaks at CES devotional

Published: Sunday, Sept. 8 2013 9:50 p.m. MDT

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks during a Church Educational System devotional in Laie, Hawaii, on Sunday. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks during a Church Educational System devotional in Laie, Hawaii, on Sunday. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

LAIE, Hawaii — Although the moral and religious values of society seem to be weakening across the globe, young adults of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must be beacons of light to attract others to Christ, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said during a Church Educational System devotional on Sunday night. The devotional — held in the Cannon Activities Center on the campus of BYU-Hawaii — was translated into 36 languages and was broadcast for young adults throughout the world via the Internet.

It is through daily decisions that individuals are able to choose to follow the Lord and access the power of his Atonement, said Elder Nelson.

“You know that every soul is free to choose his life and what he’ll be. That great eternal principle of agency is vital to our Father’s plan. So, you youth of the noble birthright, what will you choose?”

Elder Nelson posed eight questions for young adults and expounded upon how the Lord would have them act.

1. What will you choose to increase in learning?

“Education is yours to obtain,” he said. “No one else can gain it for you. Wherever you are, develop a deep desire to learn. … Getting an education is not just a privilege it is a religious responsibility. … Don’t be afraid to pursue your goals — even your dreams! There is no shortcut to excellence and competence. Education is the difference between wishing you could help other people, and being able to help them.

2. What manner of living will you choose?

“Choose to think and to act differently from those of the world,” he said. “Choose to look different and see what an influence for good you will become.”

It is important for individuals to choose good, he said. God’s plan allows the adversary to tempt individuals so that they, while in this mortal world, can exercise their agency to choose good over evil, to choose to repent, and choose to come unto Jesus Christ and follow his example.

3. Will you establish priorities to help make choices in life?

“Your choices will not all be between good and evil,” Elder Nelson said. “Many will be choices between two good options. Not all truths are created equal. So you will need to establish priorities. In your pursuit of knowledge, know that the very most important truth you can learn comes from the Lord.”

4. With whom will you choose to associate?

Recognizing there are many people in whom individuals will associate in life, it is important to mingle with good people — those believers from many different backgrounds who recognize the difference of right and wrong and how the willful breaking of one of God’s commandments is a sin.

He spoke of believers who have a conscience, who obey civil and divine law voluntarily, even laws that otherwise might be unenforceable — good people who are committed to obeying not out of fear of being caught or seen by someone else but because the unlawful acts are wrong.

5. Will you choose freedom or bondage?

Elder Nelson said that there are many forces seeking to destroy lives and happiness.

“If you, brothers and sisters, are viewing pornography, stop it. Stop it right now. Stop it absolutely. It is as destructive as leprosy, as addictive as meth and as corrosive as lye. … Avoid that bondage, my beloved friends.”

6. Will you choose to follow the Lord or the philosophies of men?

Issues surrounding society today — unemployment, choosing to not have children, questioning the definition of marriage — are all pulling people away from the truths of the gospel.

“If you have a question about the position of the church on … [any] important issue, prayerfully ponder it, then heed the prophetic messages at this forthcoming October general conference of the church,” he said. “Those inspired addresses, plus inspiration from the Holy Ghost, will bring a fuller understanding to your mind.”

Elder Nelson advised listeners to keep studying the scriptures and doing things that build one’s faith in Jesus Christ. As individuals do so, they are naturally drawn to make wise choices.

7. How will you prepare for your personal interview with the Savior?

“You youth of the noble birthright are not perfect yet,” he said. “None of us are. So, you, along with the rest of us, are very grateful for the Atonement of the Savior, that provides full forgiveness as you truly repent.”

Each day on earth is an opportunity to take the time to prepare for the interview all will have with the Savior on Judgment Day.

“As you choose to live on the Lord’s side, you are never alone. God has given you access to his help while you move along mortality’s perilous pathway. As you diligently earnestly pour your heart out to him in daily prayer, he will send his angels to help you.”

8. In whom will you put your trust?

“You youth of the noble birthright know that God is your Father,” he said. “He loves you. He wants you to be happy. Put your trust in him. Maintain your focus on his holy temple. Be worthy to receive your endowment and sealing ordinances. Remain faithful to those covenants and return frequently to the temple. Remember, your loftiest goal is to gain the greatest of all the blessings of God, that of eternal life. Ordinances of the temple are essential to that blessing.”

It is through putting one’s trust in the Lord that all will find out their identity, purpose and blessing as a youth of the noble birthright.

Marianne Holman is a reporter for the LDS Church News in Salt Lake City. EMAIL: mholman@desnews.com

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