Learning, living true values

In an inspired statement about our times, Paul the Apostle wrote these prophetic words to his associate Timothy:

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come."For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

"Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

"Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." - (2 Tim. 3:1-5.)

We need not look far to see how accurate Paul's words are proving to be. But we also know that the abundance of these "negatives" in the world comes because of something else Paul had to say. He affirmed to Timothy that such things would result because of those who are, "Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." (2 Tim. 3:7.)

We have more secular knowledge in this enlightened age than ever before, and certainly the attaining of knowledge is a great achievement. But it seems harder and harder for some people to learn that the knowledge that really counts is that which brings them eternal life and exaltation.

As many strive to attain titles, degrees, positions and stature, they must never lose sight of the fact that the thing that matters most is where they will spend eternity.

To the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord said in 1831:

"But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come." - (D&C 59:23.)

As we gain knowledge, we must be careful that it is coupled "with the works of righteousness." We must be careful not to develop the destructive attributes enumerated by Paul. Instead, we must learn to seek after things that are of eternal worth.

Have we learned how to observe the Sabbath Day properly? Are we worshipping at our meetings or are we in the malls, at social gatherings, or places of entertainment?

Have we learned to maintain a moral stature in the movies we see and the books and magazines we read? Do we care about what television programs are viewed in our homes? Do we care about the gross declines that have taken place in some music and art? Have we learned to take a firm stand on moral issues that affect our society?

Are we learning as families through regular prayer, scripture study and family home evenings?

Have we learned to hold sacred the covenants we have made in the House of the Lord? Do we honor and sustain priesthood authority? Have we learned the spirit of the Word of Wisdom? Have we learned to pay our tithes and offerings honestly? Have we learned not to covet what others have? Have we learned how to avoid criticism and complaint about time-honored rules and laws?

If we are not learning true values, but instead are seeking to modify our conduct to match the decaying trends of the world, we should consider this counsel from President Joseph Fielding Smith, 10th president of the Church:

"If members of the Church would place more confidence in the word of the Lord, and less confidence in the theories of men, they would be better off. I will give you a key for your guidance: any doctrine, whether it comes in the name of religion, science, philosophy, or whatever it may be, that is in conflict with the revelations of the Lord that have been accepted by the Church as coming from the Lord, will fail.

"It may appear to be very plausible; it may be put before you in such a way that you cannot answer it; it may appear to be established by evidence that cannot be controverted, but all you need do is bide your time. Time will level all things. You will find that every doctrine, theory, principle, no matter how great it may appear, no matter how universally it may be believed, if it is not in accord with the word of the Lord, it will perish. Nor is it necessary for us to try to stretch the word of the Lord to make it conform to these theories and teachings. The word of the Lord shall not pass away unfulfilled.

"I realize that we are all weak, and at times may place false interpretations upon the written word, but the revelations are so clear . . . that we need not be led astray. The theories of men change from day to day. Much that is taught now will tomorrow be in the discard, but the word of the Lord will endure forever." (Doctrines of Salvation 1:323-324.)

May we learn and do the works of righteousness that will assure our exaltation and eternal joy.

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