Reflecting on memories as a child sitting on his grandfather's lap as he listened to stories from the Book of Mormon, Elder Spencer J. Condie of the Seventy told BYU students of the important lessons learned from the teachings of the prophets on how to be cheerful and do good continually. He delivered his address during the campus devotional on Tuesday, Feb. 9, in the Marriott Center on BYU's Provo, Utah, campus.
Elder Condie shared insights from King Benjamin's address, speaking of six signs that come with receiving a remission of sins and the joy that comes as individuals seek to do good.
The first sign is a joyful heart and a cheerful countenance, he said.
"Being filled with joy is one of the reassuring hallmarks that we have received a remission of our sins," Elder Condie said. "Alma taught that 'wickedness never was happiness' (Alma 41:10), and this statement is akin to the predictability of the law of gravity. It is virtually impossible to be filled with joy while we are entertaining evil thoughts and wicked practices."
A second sign of receiving a remission of sins is reflected by the 'peace of conscience,' which Benjamin's people experienced in the Book of Mormon.
"As an old man, my list of past sins is so long that I cannot begin to remember them all," Elder Condie said. "But the list is so long I can't forget them all either. But I can remember them with a peace of conscience."
The third sign is a heart filled with the love of God.
"A heart filled with love has no room for discouragement, doubt, fear, hatred, vengeance, envy, lust or greed, because a heart full of love is full," he said.
The fourth indicator is to live peaceably.
"Not having a mind to injure one another is reflected by our overcoming even the very inclination to put others down, to retell jokes defaming a given ethnic group or to speak of a roommate or a spouse or any others in unflattering terms."
He spoke of the positive results of being more kind in a strained marriage relationship, and the ability for change and improvement.
The fifth hallmark of retaining a remission of sins comes as individuals teach their children, Elder Condie said as he quoted from the Book of Mormon in Mosiah 4:14-15.
Individuals "will not suffer [our] children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will [we] suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another. But [we] will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness. We will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another."
The sixth measure of a remission of sins is that individuals succor those that stand of need of help, he said.
"In this regard, giving generous fast offerings and emulating the lifelong ministry of our beloved President Thomas S. Monson readily come to mind," he said.
At the conclusion of King Benjamin's forthright counsel, the people "'all cried with one voice,'" said Elder Condie, who added that the test of retaining a remission of sins, or overcoming the inclination to do evil, gives individuals a sustained disposition to do good continually and demonstrate discipleship. A happy and obedient disposition brings about good and follows the example set by the Savior.
"Because of the Savior's divine disposition to do good continually, no temptation nor bitter cup could distract Him or dissuade Him from performing His divine mission," Elder Condie said. "Our goal in life should be to overcome the susceptible disposition."
One way individuals can develop a disposition to do good continually is through making and keeping covenants, Elder Condie said.
"Ordinances help order our lives in such a way that we prioritize the use of our time, our means and our talents in serving Heavenly Father's other children and assisting in the building of His kingdom," Elder Condie said. "It is through the ordinances of the priesthood that the powers of godliness are manifest unto men in the flesh."
Taking the sacrament each week and attending the temple are more examples of covenants that are crucial to one's spiritual well-being.
"Covenants are kept when we feel the promises we renew," he said. "It is then that doing good continually no longer becomes a tedious task, but rather a daily delight."
By keeping covenants and striving to do good continually, individuals become converted to the gospel and disciples of Christ, Elder Condie said. Actions and thoughts overcome the natural disposition to do evil, and the Holy Ghost becomes one's constant companion.
"A testimony involves believing and feeling," he said. "Whereas conversion includes doing and becoming."