There is an urgent need for more men and women who will stand for principles against growing pressures to compromise.
As an exceptional son or daughter of God, you are sorely needed. There is an urgent need for more men and women like you who will stand for principles against growing pressures to compromise. Men and women are needed who will act nobly and courageously for what the Lord has defined as right—not for what is politically correct or socially acceptable. We need individuals who have the spiritual, righteous influence that will motivate others to live honorably. We need statesmen who act with integrity, businessmen who are honest and morally clean, attorneys who defend justice and the legal system, and government officials who preserve principle because it is right. Above all, we need mothers and fathers who will preserve the sanctity and safety of the home and the integrity of the family in which faith in God and obedience to His commandments are taught as the foundation of a productive life.
You can be an essential part of that shining light, that righteous influence to increase the moral fiber of this nation and its homes. Many of your friends live their life for the moment. They do not understand the need for principles, eternal laws, and truth. They have been brought up in an environment in which decisions are made on the basis of today’s circumstances or tomorrow’s opportunities for gain. Show them a better life—a better way. There are some things that are wrong because God decreed they are wrong. Truth is not determined by men; truth was determined by an Almighty God before the creation of this earth. Truth will exist unchanged forever.
You must have honesty, integrity, chastity, virtue, and a willingness to forego something attractive—even apparently desirable for the moment—to follow true principles.
From 1953 to 1965, I served with Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, a very demanding individual. When I was called to be a mission president, he tried to dissuade me from going. When I said it was a prophet of God who had called me, he said, “If that’s the way Mormons are, I’m not going to have any of them working in my program.” I knew there were many families in Idaho depending on work in that program, and I was concerned about it.
As I prayed, a song came to my mind: “Do what is right; let the consequence follow” (“Do What Is Right,” Hymns, 1985, no. 237). I did that.
When Admiral Rickover knew I was going to leave on a mission, he had said he never wanted to see me again and never wanted to talk to me again. On the final day of my working with him, I asked for an appointment. The secretary gasped, expecting that there was going to be an explosion.
I went in, and he said, “Scott, sit down. What do you have? I’ve tried every way I can to change your decisions. What is it that you’ve got?”
I handed him a copy of the Book of Mormon and said, “Admiral, I believe in God. And I believe that when we do the best we can, He will help us.”
Then Admiral Rickover said something that I didn’t ever expect to hear. He said, “When you finish your mission, I want you to come back and work with me.”
“Do what is right; let the consequence follow.”
May the Lord strengthen your resolve, your exercise of faith, and your use of growing character so that you may be the instrument of good He wants you to be.
This article is adapted from a commencement address delivered by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on April 21, 2011.