BEWARE CONCERNING YOURSELVES
Good morning brothers and sisters! During this past week I had the opportunity to go to Utah. I was fortunate enough to see many of your sons and daughters that are away at school there. I really enjoyed this experience, and I was so happy that I could go say goodbye to all my friends that I have known while growing up in this ward. They have all been so kind to me and I have really enjoyed their friendship through the years. This trip was relatively short, Taylor and I left on Tuesday morning and spent all day Wednesday and Thursday there. We made our return journey home on Friday, however this return journey was more eventful than it should have been. We left Friday morning at about 8, and I took the first shift at the wheel. It was around 11:30 when the seemingly normal drive home turned into a nightmare. We were just about to drive into St. George when I fell asleep at the wheel. Now I don’t know if any of you have had this experience, but it is not a comforting feeling to wake up behind the wheel of the car and realize you are not in the lane that you were in a second ago. Taylor was yelling “Dallin!” as he grabbed the steering wheel to correct our course. Unfortunately it was not enough time to completely avoid impact with the guardrail. We bounced off of the rail and returned into our correct lane with no injuries. I then looked in the side view mirror to see the damage, and determined to exit the freeway to get a better look.
As we exited the freeway I was thinking to myself, “we could have just died.” This helped to soften the blow when I stepped out of the car to see a two-inch wide section of paint that was stripped off from one wheel well to the other. I then did what I most certainly did not want to do; I called my parents to tell them what had happened. I was surprised to find that they were not mad; but were, in fact, happy. This might have been because I was still alive to talk to them.
Now, after hearing this story that I have shared I would imagine that most of the priesthood brethren know which talk I will be basing my remarks on today.
In Anthony D. Perkin’s talk, “Beware Concerning Yourselves” he shares a childhood memory in which his family would take a very treacherous road to visit his Grandparents. This road would go up a steep mountain and had many hazards. Some of these include falling rocks and steep drop offs. Fortunately for drivers, there were warning signs and guardrails that would warn of the dangers ahead. These guardrails would help “protect travelers” as they made their journey. He then goes on to liken this to a Priesthood-holder’s pathway through the gospel. The way is steep and has many hazards that will make life difficult, but there are always things to help guide and protect us along the way. He describes 6 fundamental principles that will act as guardrails and guides for us as we go throughout our lives while here on earth. These are:
2. Scripture Study
3. Worthy participation in priesthood ordinances
4. Showing genuine love toward family
5. Obedience to the law of tithing
6. Obedience to the law of chastity
As we look over these principles we must realize that these are things that we have been taught since we were little children. We have heard them preached from the pulpit in General Conference. We have heard them taught in Primary to the littlest children; they often sing “I love to see the temple, I’m going there someday.”
We have even heard these principles taught from Bishop Loy. I cannot think of an interview with Bishop Loy where he did not ask about every single one of these items. He has stressed these things over and over again to both the young men and to the congregation.
We have even adopted all of these principles into our Mission Viejo Stake: Vision, Mission, and Goals. Our goal as a stake reads:
Our goal is to establish righteous patterns of living by keeping God’s commandments and standing as witnesses of Christ. We show our love to God by striving diligently to serve others with charity, qualify for a temple recommend and attend the temple regularly, keep our covenants, hold weekly family home evening, enjoy wholesome family activities, worthily partake of the sacrament, and magnify our callings as we follow the promptings of the Spirit. Our daily focus includes personal and family prayer and personal and family study of the word of God, especially of the Book of Mormon. As we do these things we will drink from the “well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Now, as promised by our goal, by doing these things we are keeping ourselves out of spiritual danger. This does not mean however that we are not going to have trials to go through. We learn from 2nd Nephi 2:11 that there needs to be trials in our life that we main gain knowledge, good from the evil. We also learn in this chapter that we have agency to choose eternal life through Jesus Christ or Captivity and death through Satan. We must then understand then that we will still have trials in our lives that will test our faith, but if we are following these principles we will not falter in our faith.
To look back on my life I can honestly say that making commitments to each one of these principles has made my life better. As I have gone through high school and into college I have seen the strength that each one of these commitments gives to me personally.
In high school it might have been going to seminary each day so that I might have the spirit to be with me. In college it was kneeling in prayer to ask the Lord in comfort when I was having a bad day, or reading the scriptures to understand more about why I was doing the things that I was doing. In the past 7 months it has been more than anything to prepare me to serve a mission. I have needed to learn how to maintain these habits that I might be more in tune with the spirit as I go to serve the people of Norway. But most importantly they have served as guardrails for me allowing me to overcome temptation.
Elder Perkin’s clearly states: “Satan seeks ‘to destroy the souls of men.’” It is this very reason why these habits are so important in our lives. If we are reading our scriptures each day, and praying to our Heavenly Father, while worthily participating in priesthood ordinances then we are cultivating a relationship with our Heavenly Father. It is this divine relationship that is protecting us from those temptations that Satan is throwing at us. If we are close with the Spirit we will be more readily able to deal with the challenges that will undoubtedly face each of us.
In Alma 5:14 Alma asks, “Have you been spiritually born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have you experienced this mighty change of hearts?”
If we as a people have indeed felt this level of conversion then we will not allow ourselves to be tossed about in the storms of life, but rather we will be steadfast and immoveable in the Gospel.
We learn in section 121:37 of the Doctrine & Covenants that “the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.”
This teaches us why it is so important to be obedient to our Lord’s Commandments. As I go to serve the people of Norway I cannot have the spirit to be with me as my companion unless I am obedient. This might be the most vital characteristic of missionaries; they are so close to the spirit. Missionaries teach, it is only through the spirit that others may come unto Christ. Nephi teaches “when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the holy ghost carries it unto the hearts of the Children of men.”
In this I have a testimony brothers and sisters, that is only through the power of the Holy Ghost that we can be truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Now I also have a testimony of the atonement of Jesus Christ. We being human will always make mistakes. We can’t always stay clearly within lanes as I so amply demonstrated on the I-15 on Friday. But I can testify…
FAMILY IN ATTENDANCE MINUS 17 THAT HAD ALREADY LEFT