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Elder Quentin L. Cook: 'Choose wisely'

In his priesthood session address, Elder Quentin L. Cook drew on a favorite comic strip, “Peanuts,” to make a point about decisions.

In one comic strip, Lucy was surrounded by her baseball teammates as a high fly ball was hit to her, said Elder Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “The ball came down and as her teammates eagerly looked on, Lucy dropped the ball. Charlie Brown threw his glove to the ground in disgust. Lucy then looked at her teammates, put her hands on her hips and said, ‘How do you expect me to catch the ball when I am worried about our country’s foreign policy?’ ”

Elder Cook commented, “While always humorous, Lucy’s excuses were rationalizations; they were untrue reasons for her failure to catch the ball. … My counsel tonight is to rise above any rationalizations that prevent us from making righteous decisions, especially with respect to serving Jesus Christ. …

“When we allow rationalizations to prevent us from temple endowments, worthy missions and temple marriage, they are particularly harmful. It is heartbreaking when we profess belief in these goals, yet neglect everyday conduct required to achieve them.”

He noted that some young people profess their goal is to be married in the temple but do not date temple-worthy individuals or, in some cases, do not date at all.

“You single men,” he said, “the longer you remain single, after an appropriate age and maturity, the more comfortable you can become. But the more uncomfortable you ought to become! Please get anxiously engaged in spiritual and social activities compatible with your goal of temple marriage.”

He told of meeting a fine teenage young man who had worthy goals, “but his day-to-day conduct was not preparing him for the physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual challenges he would face. … We need to emphasize moderation, balance and especially wisdom. It is important to rise above rationalizations and make the best choices.”

The Internet, he said, is a good example of the need for these qualities, as it has enormous potential for good but can be used for evil, “including pornography, digital cruelty and anonymous yakking. It can also perpetuate foolishness.”

Elder Cook warned, “When we rationalize wrong choices, big or small, which are inconsistent with the restored gospel, we lose the blessings and protections we need and often become ensnared in sin or simply lose our way.”

He said he is particularly concerned with foolishness, citing the passage in Acts 17 that described the Athenians encountered by Paul as spending “their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some new thing.”

“Paul’s emphasis was on the resurrection of Christ,” he noted, adding that Paul left Athens without any missionary success.

Elder Cook counseled that even worthwhile endeavors need to be evaluated to determine if they have become distractions from the best goals.

“Our daily conduct and choices should be consistent with our goals,” he declared.

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