Sink spiritual roots in 'fertile soil' of gospel

"Faithful members of the Church should be like oak trees and should extend deep roots into the fertile soil of the fundamental principles of the gospel," said Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Council of the Twelve.

Speaking Sunday afternoon, Elder Wirthlin used the analogy of giant oak trees "that have deep root systems that can extend two and one-half times their height. Such trees rarely are blown down regardless of how violent the storm may be."In using this analogy, Elder Wirthlin said: "We should understand and live by the simple, basic truths and not complicate them. Our foundations should be solid and deep-rooted so we can withstand the winds of temptation, false doctrine, adversity and the onslaught of the adversary without being swayed or uprooted.

"I wish to review with you a few core principles of the gospel into which our spiritual roots should sink deeply:

"Our Heavenly Father is the Father of our spirits and of the entire human race; we are His offspring, His sons and daughters. We have inherited divine characteristics from Him.

"Jesus Christ is infinitely more than a great teacher and philosopher. He is the Firstborn Son of God, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind. As part of the plan, Jesus offered to atone for the sins of all mankind and bear the suffering for those sins, satisfying the law of justice, if the sinners repent.

"The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He is a witness and testifier of the truth of the gospel. He is a revelator and teacher who conveys information to our spirits with far more certainty than is possible by our natural senses.

"Just as real is one who would prevent us from becoming rooted to God and His truths. Two of his names are Lucifer and Satan. He is the adversary of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and of everything that is good.

"Another core principle is moral purity. The Lord said, `Thou shalt not . . . commit adultery, . . . nor do anything like unto it.' That means we are to avoid abnormal sexual behavior, including fornication, homosexual behavior, child molestation or any other perversion of God's plan of happiness.

"A gospel principle that provides spiritual and physical strength is the Word of Wisdom. Today, medical science has proven that tobacco and other such addictive substances are poisons that are harmful to the human body.

"We can reach out to others in missionary service in response to the Savior's injunction to `Go . . . into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.' "

Elder Wirthlin counseled those listening: "We, as a people, are to live our religion and its principles and follow the leadership of our prophet, seer and revelator regardless of what the world does."

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