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Speaker's Notes

To Acquire Knowledge and the Strength to Use It Wisely

By Richard G. Scott

Elder Scott

Richard G. Scott

I will share a principle that, if understood and consistently applied, will bring enormous blessings throughout your life. It is not difficult for me to explain, nor for you to understand. However, it will require of you significant, determined effort to yield its full potential. With it you can learn vital truths that will bring you greater, enduring happiness and make your life more productive and meaningful.

You can learn vitally important things by what you hear and see and, especially, by what you feel, as prompted by the Holy Ghost. Most individuals limit their learning primarily to what they hear or what they read. Be wise. Develop the skill of learning by what you see and particularly by what the Holy Ghost prompts you to feel. Ask in faith for such help. Live to be worthy of it. Seek to recognize it. Write down in a secure place the important things you learn from the Spirit. You will find that as you write down precious impressions, often more will come. Also the knowledge you gain will be available throughout your life. Always, day or night, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, seek to recognize and respond to the direction of the Spirit. Express gratitude for the help received and obey it. This practice will reinforce your capacity to learn by the Spirit. It will permit the Lord to guide your life and to enrich the use of every other capacity latent in your being.

How can you see with greater clarity and receive more help through the veil to accomplish your aspirations? I would remind you of eight of the many sources of help.

First: Faith in Jesus Christ

There will always be a need for you to walk to the edge of the light of your knowledge and testimony into the twilight of faith. You will be asked to exercise faith in truths you have not yet come to prove through your own experience or through the sacred witness of the Holy Ghost.

Exercise faith in Jesus Christ and in His infinite capacity to bless. Faith leads one to action, to achieve goals even when there is little visible evidence to give hope of success. Faith is abiding trust in truth. Therefore it is a source of power to know simple yet profoundly important truths and to have the faith to live them. Enduring happiness is rooted in unchangeable truth lived in faith.

Second: Guiding Principles

You have likely established a set of guiding principles for your life. If not, do so now. With such standards you will not make the wrong decisions on the basis of the circumstances or the pressures of the day. Principles that you are determined to live by will keep you on track. Base them on the teachings of Jesus Christ. As you use your guiding principles, be honest with yourself. Tragedy, disappointment, and lack of attainment in life come when one is dishonest with self or with the Lord.

Never compromise your principles. Strength and safety come from making no exceptions to them. No matter how it seems that conditions would justify some departure from them, do not do it. Rationalization leads one to take something that is true and twist it to justify invalid exceptions. Rationalization is Satan’s tool to lead one from truth. Difficulties in life start when small deviations from standards are justified on the basis of circumstance. Individuals who live for the moment make decisions based on circumstance or what someone else tempts them to do. Such are doomed eventually to violate eternal law and to undermine the great opportunities of life. They may seem to gain an advantage, but that is temporary. They lose those things that bring eternal happiness. As you center your life in truth, you are assured success and happiness.

Third: Prayer

You have found that prayer can be a source of great comfort, direction, and sustaining power. Too often in the routine of daily life you may be tempted to offer hurried, mechanical prayers of no value. Prayers that bring comfort, solace, direction, and great inner strength are like those offered by Enos. He taught the importance of praying “with faith in Christ” and being diligent “in keeping [His] commandments” (Enos 1:8, 10). These words of Enos show how to pray for something vital: “My faith began to be unshaken in the Lord; and I prayed unto him with many long strugglings. . . . And it came to pass that after I had prayed and labored with all diligence, the Lord said unto me: I will grant unto thee according to thy desires, because of thy faith” (Enos 1:11–12, emphasis added). When you are prompted to ask the Lord for something that way, you will often receive far more understanding and help than expected.

Fourth: Scriptures

The scriptures are an excellent source of understanding and strength when pondered with faith in the Savior. They bolster faith in truth. When the truths revealed are applied diligently, they become a vital source of worthy motivation. You will increase your courage to do what is right. Your discipline to adhere to the most important priorities of life will be fortified.

The scriptures give eloquent confirmation of how truth consistently lived opens the door to inspiration to know what to do and, where needed, the divine power to do it. As you reflect upon how others’ capacity to conquer difficulty, doubt, and overwhelming challenges was strengthened by the Lord, the Holy Spirit will confirm that their experiences are true. You will know that similar help is available to you.

Fifth: Temple Worship

Another most significant way to enhance your capacity to understand and live eternal truth is through temple worship. Only by receiving the fulness of temple ordinances and living the covenants made there can you enter into the highest degree of glory and receive the greatest measure of eternal happiness. Temple attendance has a calming, settling, consoling influence that distills peace and contentment. It provides an environment for inspiration in answer to prayers. The accompanying family history work yields similar blessings.

Sixth: Moral Cleanliness

Your goal to be morally clean is central to your enduring happiness. You decide by your daily choices whether it will be realized. Garner strength by remembering that you can do anything the Lord asks you to do. When strength is needed, and asked for, He will help you keep this vital commandment. As you do all you are capable of doing, your trust in Him will give you capacity to overcome obstacles.

Seventh: Consistent Hard Work

It is a principle of happiness to work hard and to willingly obey the principles of truth, confident that the Lord will open doors of help when needed. You are learning the valuable lesson that significant attainment requires significant effort. Our Father will not violate His plan. He will not give eternal blessings to those who want them but who are not willing to pay the price.

Eighth: Good Music

Good music, especially sacred music, makes spiritual things more understandable. It is edifying and conducive to willing obedience. It prepares emotions for response to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Stay away from the poison of evil music.

There is one additional suggestion before I end. Some places are sacred and holy where it seems easier to discern the direction of the Holy Spirit. The temple is such a place. You can make other places that way by the way you respect them and behave while there. You need a retreat of peace and quiet where periodically you can ponder and let the Lord establish the direction of your life.

I have left the most important thing I can do for you for last. I solemnly testify that God our Father lives, that His plan is perfect. I bear testimony that as you raise your voice in prayer, those prayers are heard. They are best answered when offered from a broken heart and a contrite spirit. I know that someday I will be judged for how well I testify of my certain knowledge of Jesus Christ. Therefore, I solemnly witness that because of His Atonement, our Father’s plan of happiness will succeed. Satan’s plan is doomed to failure. I know that Jesus Christ lives. I solemnly witness with every capacity that I possess that He lives and that He loves you. Through your obedience He will help you find happiness.

Related Article: The Will of the Father in All Things Richard G. Scott, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gave this devotional address Jan. 23, 2001.

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