A newspaper account of an accident that left four people dead and seven more clinging to the underside of a 125-foot-high bridge for more than an hour caught the attention of Sister Ann M. Dibb several years ago.
The accident, which happened in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, occurred during a painting project for the Garden City Skyway Bridge. Survivors held on to a one-inch lip of steel girder and stood on an eight-inch ledge of steel for more than an hour until rescue teams could reach them. After the tragedy, officials wondered why the victims were not wearing any safety equipment.
"The answer was simple," Sister Dibb, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, said Sunday morning. "They had the equipment; they just chose not to wear it."
Heavenly Father has not left Church members alone during their mortal probation, she said. "He has already given us all the safety equipment we will need to successfully return to Him. He has given us personal prayer, the scriptures, living prophets and the Holy Ghost to guide us. At times, using this equipment may seem cumbersome, awkward and horribly unfashionable. Its proper use requires our diligence, obedience and persistence. But I, for one, choose to use it. We must all choose to use it."
In the scriptures, she said, members learn about another key piece of safety equipment — the rod of iron in Lehi's vision of the tree of life found in the Book of Mormon.
"From Lehi's vision, we learn that we must take hold of this safety railing, this iron rod, found alongside our individual straight and narrow path, and hold tight until we reach our ultimate goal of eternal life with our Heavenly Father....
"I invite you to read again the full accounts of this inspired vision. Study them, ponder them and apply them to your daily life. In modern terms, we might say we are invited to 'get a grip.' We must hold on tight to the iron rod and never let go.
"Holding to the iron rod is not always easy. We may let go because of peer pressure or pride, thinking we can find our own way back — later. When we do so we are leaving our safety equipment behind."
Sister Dibb, like Nephi, asked the congregation to "give heed to the word of God and remember to keep His commandments always in all things" (1 Nephi 15:25).
"Use the safety equipment He has provided for you," she said. "Hold fast and believe that Heavenly Father will bless you for your diligence."