Encroaching evils need not intimidate

Members urged to be 'orthodox' and balance principles of gospel

Resist evil

Receive guidance

Teach morality

Church members should be part of the orthodox mainstream of the Church as they resist encroaching evils from the combined armies of the adversary, said Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Council of the Twelve Sunday afternoon.

Elder Maxwell pointed to challenges of "surviving spiritually in a deteriorating `wheat and tares' world.

He said that evil designs operate through conspiring individuals, and "the enemy is combined." (D&C 38:12.)

"Yet we must not be intimidated or lose our composure even though the once morally unacceptable is becoming acceptable, as if frequency somehow conferred respectability!"

While freedom is important, some exult over how much decadence is permissible at the edge while ignoring the effects of such grossness upon all within the circle of freedom, he observed.

"How can there possibly be a disturbing loss of individual impulse control without a corresponding loss of collective freedom?" he asked. "Just as Lforetold, our days actually are fast resembling the days of Noah, especially notable for their pattern of corruption and violence.

"No wonder the adversary steadily promotes all the ancient sins, not because he is uninventive, but because his harvest is so constant."

Elder Maxwell cited increases in abortion, gang activity, pornography, and media violence and sleaze.

"We are lathered with soap operas in need of nothing so much as soap - for the scrubbing of themselves," he said. "Some seriously maintain that media violence and sleaze leave consumers untouched. But revenue is received from commercials precisely because of their influence. Either we deserve reforms, or sponsors deserve refunds!"

He suggested that the family receive more support, that widely shared moral principles be taught because "only reform and self-restraint, institutional and individual, can finally rescue society."

Members may receive guidance from the Holy Ghost and from Church leaders. "Whatever the decibels of decadence, these need not overwhelm the still, small voice! Some of the best sermons we will ever hear will be thus prompted from the pulpit of memory - to an audience of one."

Additionally, "help comes through sermons, the sacrament, the holy temple, prayers, the scriptures, tithing settlements, and admonitions from loved ones.

He cautioned members to remain part of the orthodoxy of thought and behavior, which balance the gospel principles and bring "safety and felicity as the storms come, including `every wind of doctrine.' Happily, the Holy Ghost not only helps us recognize truth, but also nonsense," he said.

"Yes, the enemy is combined,' but when we are combined with the Lord's chariots of fire,they that be with us are more than they that be with them.' "

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