Sunday, January 31, 2010

GC Recap #13 - Moral Discipline

Elder D. Todd Christofferson gave a wonderfully bold talk on becoming more than we are now. He said, " By “moral discipline,” I mean self-discipline based on moral standards. Moral discipline is the consistent exercise of agency to choose the right because it is right, even when it is hard. It rejects the self-absorbed life in favor of developing character worthy of respect and true greatness through Christlike service. The root of the word discipline is shared by the word disciple, suggesting to the mind the fact that conformity to the example and teachings of Jesus Christ is the ideal discipline that, coupled with His grace, forms a virtuous and morally excellent person."

Where do we learn this? As with all gospel principles, he says, "Moral discipline is learned at home. While we cannot control what others may or may not do, the Latter-day Saints can certainly stand with those who demonstrate virtue in their own lives and inculcate virtue in the rising generation.

"Our teaching should draw upon our own faith and focus first and foremost on instilling faith in God in the rising generation. We must declare the essential need to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before Him in soberness, or in other words, with reverence. Each must be persuaded that service and sacrifice for the well-being and happiness of others are far superior to making one’s own comfort and possessions the highest priority.

"This requires more than an occasional reference to one or another gospel principle. There must be constant teaching, mostly by example. Henry B. Eyring expressed the vision we strive to attain:

“'The pure gospel of Jesus Christ must go down into the hearts of [our children] by the power of the Holy Ghost. It will not be enough for them to have had a spiritual witness of the truth and to want good things later. It will not be enough for them to hope for some future cleansing and strengthening. Our aim must be for them to become truly converted to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ while they are with us. . . .

“Then they will have gained a strength from what they are, not only from what they know. They will become disciples of Christ.'”

We live in an increasingly wicked world, which so worrisome, to say the least. As I think about the things that my children will have to face and overcome I am so overwhelmed. How do we teach our children how to withstand all the influences that will come their way in the future?

Recently I was reading a talk that was given to the CES teachers by President Hinckley. In it, he said that of we want to protect our children and the youth from the evils that surround us all. He said if we would teach them 2 things, and if they will gain a testimony of these 2 things, they will be able to withstand all the firey darts. 1 - teach them to pray. Teach them to pray when the rise in the morning, throughout the day and before they go to bed. Teach them to have conversations with their Heavenly Father. Teach them to pray in good times and in bad - before a date, before tests - in all times. And, 2 - to teach them to walk uprightly before the Lord. Teach them that "there is an all seeing eye that looks down upon us, that knows our hearts, that knows our thought, from which we can not hide."

Elder Christofferson concluded, "We have heard thoughtful and inspired messages during this conference. As we prayerfully consider what we have learned and relearned, I believe that the Spirit will shed further light on those things that have particular application for each of us individually. We will be fortified in the moral discipline needed to walk uprightly before the Lord and be at one with Him and the Father."

Today in the combined meeting of Priesthood and RS we were taught of our stake focus, which reads "It is time for the members of the Eagle Mountain stake to rise to a new level of living the gospel." Each of us can find ways to rise to a new level in so many aspects. But as we prayerfully go to the Lord, he will enlighten us on what we need to work on now. And as we put our faith and trust in him, along with some hard work, we can rise to that new level. We need to do this not only to fight evil in our own lives, but to teach our children to withstand evil now and in the future.

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