In an October 1967 general conference address, Elder Thomas S. Monson, then of the Council of the Twelve and now second counselor in the First Presidency, said some think of David as a shepherd boy divinely commissioned by the Lord through the prophet Samuel. Others remember him as a mighty warrior or as the inspired poet.
Elder Monson said: "I, however, like to think of David as the righteous lad who had the courage and the faith to face insurmountable odds when all others hesitated, and to redeem the name of Israel by facing that giant in his life – Goliath of Gath."Well might we look carefully into our own lives and judge our courage, our faith. Is there a Goliath in your life? . . . Does he stand squarely between you and your desired happiness? . . .
"One man's Goliath may be the stranglehold of a cigarette or perhaps an unquenchable thirst for alcohol. To another, his Goliath may be an unruly tongue or a selfish streak that causes him to spurn the poor and the downtrodden.
"Envy, greed, fear, laziness, doubt, vice, pride, lust, selfishness, discouragement – all spell Goliath.
"The giant you face will not diminish in size or in power or strength by your vain hoping, wishing, or waiting for him to do so. Rather, he increases in power as his hold upon you tightens. . . .
"The battle for our immortal souls is no less important than the battle fought by David. The enemy is no less formidable, the help of Almighty God no farther away. What will our action be? Like David of old, "our cause is just." We have been placed upon earth not to fail or fall victim to temptation's snare, but rather to succeed. Our giant, our Goliath, must be conquered."
Elder Monson said that just as David went to the brook and carefully selected five smooth stones with which he might meet his enemy, well might individuals go to their source of supply – the Lord. He said as they combat their Goliaths they, steadied with the staff of virtue, might place in the sling of faith the stones of courage, effort, humility, prayer and duty.
"The stone of courage will melt the Goliath of fear; the stone of effort will bring down the Goliaths of indecision and procrastination," Elder Monson said. "And the Goliaths of pride, of envy, of lack of self-respect will not stand before the power of the stones of humility, prayer, and duty.
"Above all else, may we ever remember that we do not go forth alone to battle against the Goliaths of our lives. As David declared to Israel, so might we echo the knowledge, ` . . . the battle is the Lord's, and he will give
GoliathT into our hands.' (1 Sam. 17:47.)
"The battle must be fought. Victory cannot come by default. So it is in the battles of life."