Be clean from harmful subtances, profanity, immorality, dishonesty

A dream of President Joseph F. Smith as a young man in which he encountered the Prophet Joseph Smith was the reference point of President Gordon B. Hinckley's priesthood session address.

In the dream, President Smith, son of Joseph Smith's brother, Hyrum, is on a long journey. After washing himself clean and dressing in clean garments, he encounters the Prophet at a mansion and is reproved: "Joseph, you are late."He replies, "Yes, but I am clean - I am clean!" Joseph Smith then clasps his hand and draws him in, where young Joseph F. sees his father and other Church leaders who have died.

President Smith remarked later that he awoke that morning as a man, although only a boy.

Commenting on the dream, President Hinckley said: "There is something in this for every man and boy assembled in this vast congregation tonight.

"Are you beset with doubts and fears? Has discouragement pulled you down? Do you need added wisdom and strength to go forward with your life?

"I call to mind the words of Sir Galahad, My strength is as the strength of ten because my heart is pure' (Alfred, Lord Tennyson,Sir Galahad').

"Everything looks better when there is cleanliness. In Joseph F. Smith's dream, he could look into the eyes of the Prophet and say, `I am clean.' Can you, my brethren, each of you?"

President Hinckley recalled boyhood incidents of helping the family clean the house from coal dust.

"We detested that work," he said. "But when all of it was done, and everything was back in place, the result was wonderful. The house was clean. Our spirits were renewed. The whole world looked better.

"That is what some of us need to do with our lives."

He decried the practice of some to knowingly injure their bodies by taking in harmful substances.

"What a scourge these are," he said. "For a little temporary lift, they take into their systems that which robs them of self-control, becomes habit forming, is terribly expensive, enslaves and yields no good."

He admonished, "Be clean in mind, and then you will have greater control over your bodies."

Regarding the world's seeming obsession with sex, he exhorted priesthood bearers to shun such preoccupation. "I know that is easy to say and difficult to do. But each time you do so, it will be so much easier the next time. What a wonderful thing it will be if you can stand before the Lord and say, `I am clean.' "

Priesthood holders must not "be led into the vicious trap of immoral behavior," he warned, adding that there is a line that separates personal cleanliness from sin. "I need not get clinical in telling you where that line is. You know. You have been told again and again. You have a conscience within you. Stay on the Lord's side of the line."

He admonished priesthood holders to be clean in language and to refrain from profanity.

"Be clean in dress and manner," he urged. "I do not expect you to look like missionaries all of the time. But let me say that the clean and conservative dress and grooming of missionaries has become as a badge of honor recognized wherever they go. This has become an age of sloppy dress and sloppy manners. I am not so concerned about what you wear as I am that it be clean.

"I urge you to be clean in manner, to be courteous, to be respectful, to be honest, to be young men and older men of integrity.

"It is amazing what courtesy will accomplish. It is tragic what a lack of courtesy can bring. We see it every day as we move in the traffic of the cities in which we live. A moment spent in letting someone else get into the line does good for the one who is helped and it also does good for the one who helps. Something happens inside of us when we are courteous and deferential toward others. It is all part of a refining process, which if persisted in, will change our very natures."

On the other hand, he said, "anger over a little traffic problem with swearing and filthy gestures demeans those who make them and offends those at whom they are aimed."

Saying that honesty is a "precious jewel," President Hinckley spoke of false insurance claims and cheating in school. He added, "I am always pained when I read in the newspaper of someone who is a member of the Church who has been involved in a scam operation designed to take from others through dishonest means that which they covet for themselves."

Those who are guilty of uncleanliness should repent forthwith, he said, adding that they should confess to the Lord and, if the sin is egregious, to the bishop. "He will help you. There can be repentance and there can be forgiveness."

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