Sister Susan R. Bednar, wife of Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve, spoke at a fireside at the conclusion of a weekend conference held by the 25-30 Association of the Salt Lake Institute of Religion. The conference theme was "That which is praiseworthy."
"With so much evil in the world, it's hard to always know that which is praiseworthy," Sister Bednar told more than 1,200 young single adults gathered at the Salt Lake Institute on Sunday, Feb. 28. "We live in a world full of deception."
While Elder Bednar served as president of BYU-Idaho, Elder and Sister Bednar hosted many general authorities. On one such occasion, a faculty member asked Elder L. Tom Perry, "What are the dark clouds looming over the young people of the church?" Elder Perry replied, "Worldliness or Satan's power and influence."
"Think about how quick we are to follow the fads of the world," she said. "We want to set the trend or be a part of what's going on. … We are not content to be God's ambassador but want to be the world's ambassador."
Sister Bednar quoted President Marion G. Romney (a member of the First Presidency from 1972-85) who said, "There are those among us that are trying to serve the Lord without offending the devil."
Referencing Isaiah 5:20 that warns against calling evil good and good evil, Sister Bednar said, "One of Satan's deceptions is the notion that the commandments are meant to restrict our freedom and limit our happiness."
Young people, she noted, sometimes feel like commandments are like "fences and chains" barring them from activities that seem most enjoyable in life.
"When we fail to see clearly," she said, "[the practices of] defiance, rationalization and justification may seem appropriate or well intended or politically correct … yet these attitudes and behaviors pose a great danger and a real threat because they expose our moral susceptibility."
Sister Bednar encouraged the young adults to have the courage to "see [these practices] for what they really are — a subtle and misleading influence that entice us into the hands of the adversary and his cunning devices. Satan knows where we are vulnerable."
As we strive to make choices between good and evil, she said, there will be times where we make mistakes. "The Savior will succor us, comfort us … The power of His atonement enables us and aids us as we seek to overcome our frailties and imperfections and our faulty judgments."
As we seek after that which is praiseworthy, "He will fortify us with the ability to see the deception around us," she said.
How can one tell if something is praiseworthy? "We are given a special gift — the gift of the Holy Ghost."
"We can ask ourselves these questions: How does the Holy Ghost speak to us? How do we feel when we hear Him? How can this gift help us discern truth from lies, good from evil, that which is praiseworthy from that which is not? It takes practice and we have to practice on the simple promptings," Sister Bednar said.
Sister Bednar counseled the young adults to pray to hear the promptings of the Spirit, listen carefully, obey and heed them quickly. "Over time we become more and more accurate at being able to hear the voice of the Lord."
As we partake of the sacrament, she added, we are promised that we can always have His Spirit to be with us.
She spoke of a talk given by Elder Bednar in which he encourages members to try to recognize the Spirit when it leaves instead of trying to recognize when it comes. "If we are being obedient, trying to keep the commandments [and] taking upon ourselves the name of Christ, then the Spirit should be with us. We shouldn't be left alone."
"This gift can really help us to separate the truth from the lies and not fall prey to the deceptive practices of Satan," she said. "This gift can help us seek after that which is praiseworthy."