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`Absolutes' provide guiding compass

Remember choices begin with ideas

Develop Faith in God- Walk in Savior's footsteps

An irony of this information-rich era is that the world's societies are threatened by the absence of moral clarity and purpose, declared Elder Richard B. Wirthlin of the Seventy.

Speaking Saturday morning, Elder Wirthlin observed, "Take the United States for example, where 94 percent say they believe there is a God, yet a full 79 percent also believe that there are `few moral absolutes - what is right or wrong

they believeT usually varies from situation to situation.

"Societies structured by situational ethics - the belief that all truths are relative - create a moral environment defined by undistinguished shades of gray," he said.

He suggested that in such a world, four absolute truths of the gospel will provide a "moral compass" that will "chart our way to peace of mind, self-worth, and joy."

The first absolute truth is that "there is a loving Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, our personal Savior, a more certain truth than any worldly fact."

The second absolute truth is that "there is an adversary, Satan, the tempter, who would lead us away from God and His infinite peace."

Elder Wirthlin said that the Hebrew translation for the devil is "spoiler." "Satan is the spoiler because he would confound our moral compass and spoil our journey back to a loving Father in Heaven."

"He would convince us that joy is not where it is. And contrarily, he would have us believe that joy is where it is not. One of Satan's most spiritually damaging lies which undermines our sense of self-worth and hope is that we cannot be forgiven of our sins."

Elder Wirthlin said the third absolute truth is that "all of us choose our own course, endowed by agency."

He explained that "we should always remember that our choices do not begin with the act but in the mind with the idea. As a poet stated, `Sow an idea and you reap an act. Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit, and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.'

"Given our agency, we are therefore individually responsible for our ideas, acts, habits, character and yes, even our destiny."

Elder Wirthlin said the fourth absolute truth is that "the temptations of the devil can always be overcome by renewed faith in God and by repentance. "Yes, when we stray from that narrow and straight way, marked by our moral compass, our footing can be restored on the road that surely leads to salvation and eternal life."

Elder Wirthlin concluded by assuring that "we can experience wisdom, peace of mind, self-worth and joy, not only in the life to follow but in the life each of us lives today by walking in the Savior's footsteps, guided by an unfailing compass calibrated on these four moral eternal and absolute truths."

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