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Elder Quentin L. Cook: 'Beware of bondage'

Published: Sunday, Oct. 6 2013 2:30 p.m. MDT

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve speaks at the Sunday afternoon session of general conference in Salt Lake City, Oct. 6, 2013. (LDS Church) Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve speaks at the Sunday afternoon session of general conference in Salt Lake City, Oct. 6, 2013. (LDS Church)

Drawing inspiration from the books of Jeremiah, Lamentations and Psalms, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke in the Sunday afternoon session of general conference about the many forms of bondage and subjugation that people struggle with in life. "I will compare some circumstances of our day with those in the days of Jeremiah before the downfall of Jerusalem," he said.

"God intended that men and women would be free to make choices between good and evil," said Elder Cook. "When evil choices become the dominant characteristic of a culture or nation, there are serious consequences both in this life and the life to come."

Bondage, subjugation and servitude come in many forms, said Elder Cook. They can be literal physical enslavement but can also be loss or impairment of moral agency that can impede progress. "Other kinds of bondage are equally destructive of the human spirit," said Elder Cook. "Moral agency can be abused in many ways."

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He then listed four ways in today's culture that people fall into bondage. First he mentioned that addictions can impair agency, contradict moral beliefs and destroy good health. "The impact of drugs and alcohol, immorality, pornography, gambling, financial subjugation and other afflictions impose on those in bondage and on society a burden of such magnitude that it is almost impossible to quantify."

Second, addictions that are not inherently evil can use up a precious allotment of time, which could otherwise be used to accomplish virtuous objectives, he said. "These can include excessive use of social media, video and digital games, sports, recreation and many others. …How we preserve time for family is one of the most significant issues we face in most cultures."

"Third, the most universal subjugation in our day, as it has been throughout history, is ideology or political beliefs that are inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ," said Elder Cook. "This is emblematic of our own day where gospel truths are often rejected or distorted to make them intellectually more appealing or compatible with current cultural trends and intellectual bondage."

Fourth, forces that cause righteous people to violate sincerely held religious principles can result in bondage, he said. One of the most invidious forms is when those who feel accountable to God for their conduct are forced into activities that violate their conscience. Latter-day Saints in every country should be good citizens, participate in civic affairs, educate themselves on the issues and vote, said Elder Cook.

"Our challenge is to avoid bondage of any kind, help the Lord gather His elect and sacrifice for the rising generations," he said. We must always remember that we do not save ourselves. We are liberated by the love, grace and atoning sacrifice of the Savior. If we are true to His light, follow His commandments, and rely on His merits, we will avoid spiritual, physical and intellectual bondage as well as the lamentation for wandering in our own wilderness for He is mighty to save."

Ryan Morgenegg is a multimedia specialist for the Deseret News.

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