Speaking at an Oct. 28 Utah Valley University devotional, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, called on students to be the links and bridges serving countries, ethics systems and traditions "especially as you bring your understanding of revealed truths into the secular world of your professions."
President Uchtdorf highlighted the differences in the world in which he grew up in Europe and that of the UVU students. He said the political system after World War II was symbolized by the single word, "division," and by a name and location, "the Berlin Wall." Conversely, today's interwoven globalization is symbolized by "integration" and the name and cyber-location of "the World Wide Web."
Globalization can help foster lofty goals better standards of living, less poverty around the world, more respect for diversity and culture and peace for all mankind but its openness and trust today can be as much a liability as a virtue, he said.
"Globalization, with all of its virtues, seems to have one critical imperfection: We all feel connected, but nobody feels responsible," President Uchtdorf said.
Further, he declared, "Let me be clear, today is a day for the best of our hopes, not the worst of our fears. Our decisions should not be governed by our fears."
He called for making decisions with risks, not recklessness, and said there is great need for virtues and divine principles today, including moral agency, which allows individuals to act for themselves and to be accountable for those actions.
"The ability to know right from wrong is, of course, based on the truth that there is a right and a wrong, a universal standard of ethics that applies to everyone everywhere," said President Uchtdorf. "One reason for today's decline in moral values is that the world has invented a new, constantly changing, undependable standard of moral conduct, often referred to as 'situational ethics.'
"Now individuals consider 'good' and 'evil' adjustable according to each situation. Some wrongly believe that there is no divine law, so there is no sin" (see 2 Nephi 2:13).
He added: "In order to come to its senses, the world has to come back to the basics of divine virtues that have been taught since the times of the ancient prophets. The recent financial crash has spurred many to rethink the ethics of corporate cultures."
"We all look upon one another as brothers and sisters, regardless of the land we call home. We belong to what may be regarded as the greatest community of friends on the face of the earth," he said.
"Ethical and moral decline is accelerated when individuals and eventually societies become indifferent to divine values once widely shared. Now is the time to stand up and be counted and not to step aside or duck," he said. We actually have an obligation to lift people out of dangerous routines and help them face the challenges of the future. Leaders and followers are both accountable to Him who gave us life. In a democratic society much is required of leaders and followers; individual moral values and character matters so much in both."
Saying Jesus Christ is the God of the whole earth who invites all nations and people to come unto Him, President Uchtdorf said the Savior not only shows the way but makes the way possible through His Atonement.
"Indeed, the Savior is the way (see John 14:6)," he said. "He is the source of all true wisdom. To worship Him, to follow Him, to seek from Him answers to life's crucial questions is the solution to all the challenges of our time. 'Fear not to do good,' the Redeemer has said. 'Look unto me in every thought' (Doctrine and Covenants 6:33, 36)."