Heavenly Father has provided a path that, if followed, will guide all His children safely home, President Thomas S. Monson declared in his conference address on Sunday morning, Oct. 5.
The scriptures and counsel of God’s prophets are among those things which guide us back to Heavenly Father, he said, and then added, “Of paramount importance, we have been provided with a perfect example to follow — even the example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ — and we have been instructed to follow that example. ... As we look to Jesus as our Exemplar and as we follow in His footsteps, we can return safely to our Heavenly Father to live with Him forever.”
President Monson spoke of a woman who, in describing her visit to the Holy Land, exclaimed, “I walked where Jesus walked!”
“She had been in the vicinity where Jesus lived and taught,” President Monson said. “Perhaps she stood on a rock on which He had once stood or looked at a mountain range He had once gazed upon. The experiences, in and of themselves, were thrilling to her; but physically walking where Jesus walked is less important than walking as He walked. Emulating His actions and following His example are far more important than trying to retrace the remnants of the trails He traversed in mortality.”
When Jesus extended to a certain rich man the invitation, “Come, follow me,” He did not intend merely that the man follow Him up and down the valleys of the countryside, President Monson said.
“We need not walk by the shores of Galilee or among the Judean hills to walk where Jesus walked. All of us can walk the path He walked when, with His words ringing in our ears, His spirit filling our hearts, and His teachings guiding our lives, we choose to follow Him as we journey through mortality. His example lights the way. Said He: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.’ ”
President Monson said that the path Jesus walked took Him through many of the same challenges people face in life. He said Jesus walked the path of disappointment as the children of Israel rejected the safety of the protecting wing He offered them. “Jesus walked the path of temptation. Lucifer, amassing his greatest strength, his most inviting sophistry, tempted Him who had fasted for forty days and forty nights. Jesus did not succumb; rather, He resisted each temptation.
“Jesus walked the path of pain,” President Monson said. "Consider Gethsemane, where He was ‘in an agony ... and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down on the ground.’ And none can forget His suffering on the cruel cross.
“Each of us will walk the path of disappointment, perhaps because of an opportunity lost, a power misused, a loved one’s choices, or a choice we ourselves make. The path of temptation, too, will be the path of each. We read ... ‘And it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves’ (Doctrine and Covenants 29:39).
“Likewise shall we walk the path of pain. We, as servants, can expect no more than the Master, who left mortality only after great pain and suffering.
“While we find on our path bitter sorrow, however, we can also find great happiness.
“We, with Jesus, can walk the path of obedience. ... We, like Jesus, can walk the path of service. As a glowing searchlight of goodness is the life of Jesus as He ministered among men. ...
“Jesus walked the path of prayer. He taught us how to pray by giving us the beautiful prayer we know as the Lord's prayer. And who can forget His prayer in Gethsemane: ‘Not my will, but thine, be done.’ ”
President Monson said other of the Savior’s instructions “are at our fingertips” in the scriptures. “In His sermon on the mount, He tells us to be merciful, to be humble, to be righteous, to be pure in heart, to be peacemakers. He instructs us to stand up bravely for our beliefs, even when we are ridiculed and persecuted. He asks us to let our lights shine so that others may see them and may desire to glorify our Father in Heaven. He teaches us to be morally clean in both our thoughts and our actions. He tells us it is far more important to lay up treasures in heaven than on earth.”
“His parables teach with power and authority. With the account of the good Samaritan He teaches us to love and to serve our neighbors. In His parable of the talents He teaches us to improve ourselves and to strive for perfection. With the parable of the lost sheep He instructs us to go to the rescue of those who have left the path and have lost their way.
“As we strive to place Christ at the center of our lives by learning His words, by following His teachings and by walking in His path, He has promised to share with us the eternal life that He died to gain. There is no higher end than this, that we should choose to accept His discipline and become His disciples, and do His work throughout our lives. Nothing else, no other choice we make, can make of us what He can. ...
“We read in Proverbs the admonition, ‘Ponder the path of thy feet.’ As we do, we will have the faith, even the desire, to walk the path which Jesus walked. We will have no doubt that we are on a path which our Father would have us follow. The Savior’s example provides a framework for everything that we do, and His words provide an unfailing guide. His path will take us safely home.”