Joshua's admonition: 'choose you this day whom ye will serve'

"We must, as Latter-day Saints, young and old, be firm for that which we know to be right, and in the right be steadfast and immovable," said Elder ElRay L. Christiansen, an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve, in his October 1959 general conference address.

"Each of us must set his own course. Each household must determine whether its members will follow the worldly pattern of loose, reckless living, or be obedient to the commandments of the Lord."When the tribes of ancient Israel inclined their hearts toward the worship of heathen gods, forsaking God-given principles, you remember that Joshua their leader, fearing for his people ` . . . gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God.' (Josh. 24:1.)

"Then it was that he pointed out to them what was happening among them, and admonished them to put away their strange gods and their evil ways, and he called upon them to repent, exhorting them to serve the Lord God of Israel with sincerity. Then in the majesty of his calling as a prophet he said to them, ` . . . choose you this day whom ye will serve . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.' (Josh. 24:15.)

"Just as Israel in that day had to make that decision, so must that decision be made by us today. I must make that decision. You must make that decision. For example, in this day of widespread desecration of the Sabbath . . . do I, do you, serve the Lord by being where we ought to be, doing what we ought to do, on His holy day?

"Again, when friends or acquaintances urge the use of tobacco or intoxicating liquor, do we yield just to be sociable? . . .

"The destroying sin of unchastity and moral laxity has been one of the dominant factors in the downfall of many proud people and many great empires. Among the people today, this same destroyer of happiness presents a dismal picture for the safety and peace of this and future generations. . . .

"Will we listen to those who would minimize the seriousness of this transgression and who would have us believe that the Lord has changed His mind in regard to it? Each of us must stand for and encourage such principles as honesty, trustworthiness, virtue. Let us turn a deaf ear to the advocates of wrongdoing, and be prepared with Joshua to say, `. . . as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.' "

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