President Monson: Six road signs that safely lead one through harm's way

With a dramatic retelling of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis near the end of World War II, President Thomas S. Monson emphasized at the Saturday evening priesthood session the importance of staying out of harm's way.

President Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency, recounted that the ship was traveling on a secret cargo mission through hostile waters in the Philippine Sea. The captain, he said, failed to obey discretionary orders to follow a zig-zag course of travel to prevent detection and attack from the enemy. As a result, an enemy submarine sank the ship; only 316 members of the 1,200-man crew were rescued."Are there lessons for our lives in the horrific experience of those men aboard the Indianapolis?" President Monson asked.

"Our journey through mortality will at times place us in harm's way. Is there a roadmap to safety? Are there those to whom we can look for help?"

He then offered six road signs which, when observed and followed, lead to safety:

Choose good friends. "In a survey made in selected wards and stakes of the Church," he said, "we learned a most significant fact: Those persons whose friends married in the temple usually married in the temple, while those persons whose friends did not marry in the temple usually did not marry in the temple. This same fact pertained also to full-time missionary service. The influence of one's friends appeared to be a highly dominant factor - even equal to parental urging, and surpassing classroom instruction or proximity to a temple."

Seek parental guidance. "Your mother, your father, your family all love you and pray for your eternal happiness," President Monson affirmed. "Fathers, be an example to your sons. Show them the way to go. Walk with them in righteousness and faith. Be slow to judge."

Study the gospel. "Develop a yearning to know the Lord, to understand His commandments and to follow Him," President Monson counseled. "Then shadows of despair are dispelled by rays of hope, sorrow yields to joy, and the feeling of being lost in the crowd vanishes with the certain knowledge that our Heavenly Father is mindful of each of us."

Obey the commandments. "Make up your mind to serve God," he urged. "Learn His word and follow it."

Serve with love. "Brethren, what supernal joy you feel when someone recalls counsel you gave, an example you lived, a truth you taught, the influence you had in prompting another to do good," President Monson said. He urged leaders of youth to remember Paul's counsel to be an example of the believers (see 1 Tim. 4:12), and counseled bishops to place worthy, righteous men as Aaronic Priesthood leaders and Scoutmasters.

"No man is called to work with youth until his membership certificate is in the hands of the bishop," he said. "In addition, no man is called to work in Scouting until he is fully registered with the governing board of Scouting and his record merits consideration for a call. This procedure has been expounded many times, yet wolves continue to enter with the intent to destroy the flock. President Hinckley asked that I stress tonight this instruction."

Pray with purpose. "With God, all things are possible," he said. "Prayer is the provider of spiritual strength. Prayer is the passport to peace."

President Monson recalled the experience of observing a platform that had been erected by deer hunters in a high tree above a forest clearing with a small, clear stream meandering through it.

"Though in many places this is illegal, the hunter takes his prey as it comes to eat and to drink," he said. "No twig would break, no movement disturb, no scent reveal the hunter's whereabouts. Why? The magnificent buck deer, with its highly developed senses to warn of impending danger, does not have the capacity to look directly upward and thus detect the enemy. The deer finds himself in harm's way. Man is not so restricted. His greatest safety is found in his ability and his desire to look upward - to "look to God and live." (Alma 37:47.)

President Monson concluded with this warning: "Brethren, are we prepared for the voyage of life? The sea of life can at times become turbulent. Crashing waves of emotional conflict may break all around us. Chart your course, be cautious and follow the safety measures outlined."

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