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Wisdom in seeking and doing God's will

Live simplicity of gospel; don't look beyond the mark to find answers

REXBURG, Idaho — "There is wisdom in seeking and doing the will of God," Elder Dallin H. Oaks told BYU-Idaho students at a devotional address on Nov. 7.

"Wisdom is defined as the quality of knowing what is true or right and knowing what to do about it," he said.

Elder Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve was accompanied to Rexburg, in southeastern Idaho, by his wife, Kristen M. Oaks, who also addressed the students.

In his address, Elder Oaks began by sharing advice given to BYU students from President Gordon B. Hinckley, to have "more excellence" in their studies and to cherish marital relationships. "The only way to happy resolution of disagreements in marriage is for each companion to be willing to meet the other 90 percent of the way. Only by that approach can you be sure that your efforts will bridge the gap and bring you into harmony, hand-in-hand."

Elder Oaks spoke about the importance of living the simplicity of the gospel, not looking beyond the mark to find answers to deep doctrinal questions. "There is enough difficulty in following the words of plainness, without reaching out for things we have not been given and probably cannot understand," he said.

Since living gospel truths is a simple practice, our language in prayer should be simple as well. "Be wise in your public prayers. Keep them short, and remember to give a prayer, not a speech. Talks are addressed to an audience; prayers are addressed to the Lord."

In teaching the gospel, "gospel teachers and Church leaders should keep it simple," Elder Oaks said, describing challenges and wisdom given by President Hinckley as examples. "It would be wise for each of us to look for simple but powerful things we can do in our own lives and in the teaching of our children, family members, and associates in the Church," Elder Oaks said.

Continuing, he said choosing not to study on the Sabbath was a practice his father held dear and which Elder Oaks was blessed for following.

"Don't characterize or define yourself by some temporary quality. The only single quality that should characterize us is that we are a son or daughter of God," Elder Oaks said. "Always remember that you are a son or daughter of heavenly parents, seeking to qualify for your eternal heirship under that parentage."

Elder Oaks then spoke about the importance of dating, becoming men and women of God, and how to bear testimony when dealing with tough questions about the gospel. He concluded with a standard of wisdom and order as written in Doctrine and Covenants 10:4.

"When we feel overwhelmed with all that presses upon us, we should pray for inspiration to guide us in identifying what is required by eternal principles," Elder Oaks said. "Then, in the time that remains, we pray for wisdom to exercise our preferences among those things that are merely good but not essential. Finally, when inspired wisdom has guided our choices, we proceed, as President Hinckley has taught us, to just 'do the very best (we) can."'

In her remarks, Sister Oaks presented two definitions: one of how to be wise, and one of wisdom. "To be wise is defined as 'judging properly as to what is true and right.' Wisdom is 'the knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action.' When we use wisdom, we act and apply the information we know to be true," Sister Oaks said.

She said the scriptures issue a call to action. "It is not enough to believe — even to believe with all our hearts. The Lord would have us act on our beliefs."

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