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Virtuous thoughts are key to living a clean life

The New Year offers a chance for new beginnings, Young Women General President Susan W. Tanner said during the New Year's Eve youth fireside in the Conference Center. But for members of the Church, the change goes beyond easily made and broken resolutions, she said.

"For true and lasting change, our New Year's resolutions must be reinforced by real repentance through the Redeemer," she explained.

True repentance requires not only a change of behavior, she continued, but a change of thoughts.

Then she said, referring to the 2007 Mutual Theme, "We are admonished in Doctrine and Covenants 121:45 to 'let virtue garnish (our) thoughts unceasingly' so that our 'confidence will wax strong in the presence of God' and 'the Holy Ghost shall be (our) constant companion.'

"As we garnish or adorn our thoughts with virtue and repent, we become clean."

After stating, "If we are clean and virtuous, we can be in the presence of God again," Sister Tanner said, "If any of you feel unclean, you need to know that through the power of the Atonement you can become clean again. ... You can change. Tomorrow can truly be a new beginning."

She illustrated the point by telling of a young woman who, though she had been taught correct principles, succumbed to impure thoughts and deeds, getting pregnant out of wedlock. Though she fell into despair and struggled with her self-esteem, she found the help she needed to repent from her bishop, her parents, her own strength, and the power of the Redeemer's Atonement. She placed her child with good parents and returned to virtuous living. She later married in the temple and began building a righteous home.

"Through repentance, she was able to begin anew," Sister Tanner said. "For each of us, hope comes from knowing that through the Atonement such new beginnings are possible. This knowledge can become the source of virtuous thoughts — thoughts that invite confidence in the presence of God. I believe that virtuous thoughts are not only chaste and pure thoughts, but also strong, courageous, and hopeful thoughts."

She concluded, "In a few hours we will begin a new year again. As the new year dawns, may this be our resolution: to let virtue garnish our thoughts unceasingly, that our confidence may wax strong in the presence of God."

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