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Shun evil with the protective mantle of God's priesthood

President James E. Faust's priesthood session address focused on the battle that each must wage within himself.

President James E. Faust
President James E. Faust

To illustrate, President Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency referred to the classic Robert Louis Stevenson novel, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In the novel, a kindly London physician experiments with a drug that allows him to change his form into the very embodiment of evil. Increasingly, the evil form overpowers the good.

"Now the key to never turning into an evil, wicked Mr. Hyde is to determine not to yield to destroying temptations, "President Faust said. "Never, never experiment with any addictive substance. Do not ever use tobacco in any form or take any other enslaving substances. Stay away from intoxicating liquor. Addictions bring tragic consequences that are hard to overcome."

He told of Creed Haymond, a stake patriarch who in his college days was captain of the University of Pennsylvania track team. When his team participated in the annual Inter-Collegiate Association track meet, Brother Haymond refused to take some sherry wine, even though it was thought in those days that wine was a "tonic" for muscles hardened through rigorous training. The next day, while the rest of the team members were ill and performed poorly or were too sick to run, Brother Haymond set a world record for the 220-yard dash.

"That night and for the rest of his life Creed Haymond was grateful for his simple faith in keeping the Word of Wisdom," President Faust related.

"Another false philosophy that appeals to the Mr. Hyde side of our natures is that peeking into pornography is harmless," he observed. "This is a terrible deception. Pornography is as addictive as cocaine or any illegal drug."

What some call "premeditated repentance" is another "Mr. Hyde" deception, President Faust said. "There is no such doctrine in the Church. This may sound subtly appealing, but it is in fact a pernicious and false concept. Its objective is to persuade us that we can consciously and deliberately transgress with the forethought that quick repentance will permit us to enjoy the full blessings of the gospel, such as temple blessings or a mission. True repentance can be a long, painful process."

He explained that all covenants must not only be received through ordinances, but to be eternal, must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. "This divine stamp of approval is placed upon our ordinances and covenants only through faithfulness. The false idea of so-called premeditated repentance involves an element of deception, but the Holy Spirit of Promise cannot be deceived."

Some people, President Faust observed, wear masks of decency and outward righteousness but live lives of deception, believing that, like Dr. Jekyll, they can live a double life and not be found out. "The truth about who we are and what we do will ultimately become known," he said. " The Lord has given us this sober reminder, 'For their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed.' (D&C 1:3.)"

He said that priesthood brethren can shield themselves against the enemy within by using the protective mantle of the priesthood of God. "Individually," he said, "we need to put the great powers of the holy priesthood to work in our lives. . . . Collectively we have the mission to bring the message of salvation to the world."

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